Baja Burrito Resto Mod - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-01-2016, 03:34 PM   #15
Junior Member
Name: Cory
Trailer: Burro
Posts: 22
Frame Weakness Discussion

I've seen several posts discussing the weakness of the Burry frame. I am currently in the middle of a frame off restoration, and I can attest to how the frame seems pretty weak (see my tongue replacement post).

I'm no expert, but I suspect that the frame may not be the only issue. If you have every done any wood framing, you know the strength comes from the sidewalls. The Burro's are notorious for rotten floors. So you take a 30 yr old camper that has a weak floor. The frame is less stiff now, and can flex. Add to this 30 yrs of use, maybe a little rust here or there, maybe the camper has been backed into something once or twice, maybe the 30 yr old torsion axle is not working like it used to and the frame now has to absorb some of the road impacts. Add it all up and it is not hard to imagine a damaged frame. I suspect the weak floor maybe one of the real culprits.

I'm in the middle of converting my axle to a leaf spring. I am debating beefing up the frame. It maybe cheap insurance, but you can do damage welding to the frame. When adding metal to a frame you can cause warping and stress. Also the extra metal can cause places for rust to go unchecked between the two metals.

Unless I discover some major frame damage, I am leaning towards not doing anything. I'd love to hear other opinions on this. I'd hate to do all this work and wish I had added extra support. Thanks.

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Old 10-02-2016, 02:52 PM   #16
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Kai in Seattle's Avatar
Name: Kathleen (Kai in Seattle)
Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973
Posts: 769
Your objections to beefing up the existing one sound valid, but not necessarily inevitable.

some here on other rebuilds (including ours) have suggested going to a metal fab shop and having a whole new frame built from new materials.

I assume it's costly (we got lucky with our 1973 brown amerigo frame)
--but then you'd KNOW it was fine.

Semper ubi sub ubi.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:20 PM   #17
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vintageracer's Avatar
Name: Mike
Trailer: Uhaul
Posts: 218
All you have to do is look at the pictures of your frame to see that most light weight JON boat trailers are built better than your Burro frame. Just look at the wide end of the V where the V starts the taper to the hitch. Light weight steel square steel tubing with a machine bend. Not strong at all and a place where you see many a Burro and many other fiberglass trailers from all the other manufacturer's from that time period with a patch scabbed on the side of the frame to support the broken or cracked frame rail. There's your weak point!

The frame is the foundation of your trailer. You are this far into the restoration of your Burro so why not upgrade your chassis?

I suggest you consider 1/8 inch or better yet 3/16 inch plate steel welded down the length of each frame rail hitch to tailight for added torsional rigidity and support. That's probably twice as thick as the original square tubing frame rail wall thickness originally used to construct this frame. I would look at reinforcement on the cross-members also. I would probably do the same thing to the inside of the frame rails. A little triangulation would be a good think IF the underside of the fiberglass shell will allow that with no tanks or other obstructions. After-all the Burro shell sits on top of the frame rails so this should not be a big deal. Take a flashlight and look INSIDE the square tube frame rails to see how rusty and crusty they might be on the inside as they generally rust from the inside out.



However rest assured IF this trailer chassis where designed and manufactured today there is no way the manufacturer would use this flimsy a frame design and construction with such primitive and inferior frame rail materials. As noted in one of your earlier posts you can't even buy a direct replacement axle for this frame so that alone should tell you the technology & parts used to construct this frame is badly outdated.

As far as the worry about rust between the additional metal added to the frame and the original frame rails you can prep the metal with weld through primer and chassis paint to stop/slow that issue before welding on the additional bracing. You also repaint the frame with a product like POR 15 to stop any future rust issues.

I would not worry about the "warping" the frame. Chances are already GREAT your frame is not square anyway and is already warped in some form or fashion after 40 years and who knows how many miles and potholes. With the above being said ANY frame upgrades you make to this frame will far outlive your lifetime so I'd say you would have "No Worries Mate". That crappy original frame somehow made it through almost 40 years!

No way "I" would stick that stock frame back under your beautifully restored Burro fiberglass shell without some serious upgrades. You frame already needs to have fab work completed to install your new modern axle to the frame so it really is time finish the job and properly upgrade your trailer's chassis!
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:08 AM   #18
Junior Member
Name: Cory
Trailer: Burro
Posts: 22
Burro Frame

Daguum it, Mike I think you are right. Back to the drawing board. I think I was trying to talk myself out of the extra work.

I just finished up the axle install yesterday. I should have run angle all the way down the bottom side of the frame and THEN mounted the leaf spring brackets to the new angle. I will have to look it over and decide the best fix. Worried now about damaging the frame by cutting out the new brackets I installed. I'll figure something out.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 10-03-2016, 06:07 PM   #19
Junior Member
Name: Cory
Trailer: Burro
Posts: 22
Leaf Spring Install & Spare Tire Holder

Good news...
I got the leaf spring and axle installed. I drilled and tapped the frame to bolt the brackets to the frame. I don't think there was enough metal there, so I also tack welded the nuts to the brackets and welded the brackets to the frame.

I may have a little more lift than I expect. I may end up putting bigger tires on. I will wait and see what it looks like when I get it on the frame.

Since the frame is lifted a little bit, I installed a spare tire hanger under the frame in the front. I kept this off an old camper I had before I sold it. I thought it would look a little better, allow less weather on the spare tire, and allow me to get the utility tray (I am going to make) to be installed closer to the camper.

Bad News...
I think I have been talked into beefing up the frame. I should have welded 2" angle on the inside bottom of the frame, then added the leaf spring brackets on top of that. As it is now, I'm afraid I'd do more damage to the frame cutting the leaf spring brackets back out. I will have to come up with something else.
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brochure, burro, floor replacement, replacement window, tongue replacement, window seals

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