stronger frame for 16' Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-08-2012, 08:00 PM   #1
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Name: Claus
Trailer: Scamp 16"
Bavaria
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stronger frame for 16' Casita

Hi there
Iīm new here, be German on long therm travel and bought 4 years ago a 16" Casita. Tow car is a Land Rover Defender TD5.
My problem now is multiple: First, I blew lately 2 new tires at the same side which did bad damage to the floor and wiring. Second, My hitch broke on a mexican highway almost all the way through. I got it welded, but it broke again 50 miles later in the middle of nowhere. A mobile mexican welder team got to work provisoriously and after a carefull drive to their shop they went to do a more profund work. Unfortunately they set the floor on fire and I could exdinguish the flames in the last seccond with 5 gal of water.
Since I do a lot of dirt roads, I wish to build a new frame -stronger as the original one, put springs and shocks in.
Could you please give me hints how to get the body off the frame and tell me if I have to get all the cabinets out?
May even if somebody has done this work already?
Iīm basically happy with my Casita, but for my use itīs build too weak.
Thank you very much
Claus
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:06 AM   #2
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Part 8 Prepping for frame removal.wmv - YouTube
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:08 AM   #3
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Part 9. Removing the frame on a 17 ft. Boler trailer - YouTube
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:14 AM   #4
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The above two posts will link you to two videos. They show you how a Boler 17 is removed from its frame. Watching these two videos is a good place to get started. There are people here that have done the same job as you are planning. It definitely can be done. You have a Casita, which will have some differences.

Derek
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:29 AM   #5
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Welcome to FiberglassRV Claus, we're glad you're here

There are plenty of folks that have removed trailers from frames, built or reinforced original frames. Hopefully someone with first-hand experience will pop in shortly.

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Old 12-09-2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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Name: Eddie
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The frame on a 16 Casita is flat and clear on the bottom unlike a Scamp frame. It is also made out of channel iron instead of square tubing as used on Scamp and other trailers. The shell is attached to the frame with lots of self tapping screws so I would not seperate the shell from the frame.
To beef up the frame I would mount a subframe to your existing frame. I would cut off the axel and cross frame grey water lines. Then weld the same size channel to the bottom your existing front frame rails and weld the leaf springs to your new subframe rails. You may have to extend your new subframe rails beyond your front frame rails to catch your rear spring shackles. If so then run vertical supports to catch your upper rear frame rails. Or you could extend your subframe to the rear to build a rear storage platform if you have enough lift in your axle, wheels and tires.
With the extra depth frame you can install 40 gal. gray water tank. If you run the subframe all the way to the rear you will have lots of room for a big fresh water tank and you can remove the tank from under the rear dinette seat.
You most likely will have to weld your hitch to your new subframe and cut off your old hitch to match up to your tow vehicle.
I would guess the subframe less axle would add about 500-600 lbs. to your trailer.
Eddie
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie Longest View Post
...You most likely will have to weld your hitch to your new subframe and cut off your old hitch to match up to your tow vehicle.
The part on the front of the trailer which goes over the ball is the coupler ("hitch" means the whole system, or just the part on the tow vehicle).

The coupler could be cut off and re-attached to the new structure, but it is not necessary to do that just to match the height of the tow vehicle, since the ball height can be changed with a different ball mount (within some limits).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie Longest View Post
I would guess the subframe less axle would add about 500-600 lbs. to your trailer.
That's an enormous amount of steel. What is the size (height, width, thickness) of the channel used in the stock Casita 16' frame?
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:17 PM   #8
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Name: Claus
Trailer: Scamp 16"
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Thank you all for your input. I have to correct a misinformation: My camper isīnot a Casita, but a Scamp. Since I overpainted it 4 years ago, the information was "overpainted" too.
To: Eddie Longest:
Just this night I woke up with exactly the same idea and you confirmed it today. Thank you very much. Do you think -since itīs a Scamp, not a Casita- the sub frame solution will work same way? Here also the body is screwed on with a lot of tampered screws.
Thanks again
Claus
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie Longest View Post
To beef up the frame I would mount a subframe to your existing frame. I would cut off the axle and cross frame grey water lines. Then weld the same size channel to the bottom your existing front frame rails and weld the leaf springs to your new subframe rails. You may have to extend your new subframe rails beyond your front frame rails to catch your rear spring shackles. If so then run vertical supports to catch your upper rear frame rails.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The coupler could be cut off and re-attached to the new structure, but it is not necessary to do that just to match the height of the tow vehicle, since the ball height can be changed with a different ball mount (within some limits).
I had to do just what Eddie suggests to my Fiber Stream. The difference is the Scamp and Casita use torsion axles and not leaf springs. This opens an opportunity to have Claus change from a welded axle mount to a bolt-on axle mount if he desires.

All I had to do for the height was raise my Tow Vehicle's adjustable ball mount one step higher.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:20 PM   #10
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Would someone please tell me how to post pics in the thread?
Thank you
Claus
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2expedmog View Post
I have to correct a misinformation: My camper isīnot a Casita, but a Scamp...
I believe that previous discussions have described the frame material for a 16' Scamp as 1.5"x3" rectangular steel tubing. If it is 1/8" thick (that's only my guess - it's likely thinner), that's (2x1.5"+2x3")x1/8" of steel, or 1.125 square inches of steel cross-section. The entire frame with tongue (but not counting crossmembers) would then be about
2 frame rails
x 16' each
x 12" per foot
x 1.125 sq.in area
= 432 cubic inches of steel
At about 0.29 lb/in3, that's 125 lb of steel for the full original frame length. Any reinforcement should be significantly less than that.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2expedmog View Post
Would someone please tell me how to post pics in the thread?
When you open the Reply Window to comment on a post, look for the little "Paperclip" icon in the top margin of the text block. Clicking on the Paperclip opens an additional window that allows you to Browse through your photos. When the browse part opens, make sure it is on the photo storage file on your hard drive, or the url of your photo storage site "in the cloud". Click to load it into the window and wait to confirm that is appears as its file title in the "manage Attachments" window before you close it. then continue with your text reply and click "submit reply" as you normally do, and the photo should be attached to your reply just as mine did above.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:24 PM   #13
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Name: Eddie
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Claus
The Scamp body removal would be more difficult than a Casita because of the non molded floor in a Scamp. The subframe idea would also be more difficult with a Scamp because the frame is not flat on the bottom like a Casita. The Scamp has a drop floor between the frame rails. When welding on the inside of the frame on the main floor area you will be welding right next to the wood floor. The other issue is the frame rail is cut out at the entrance door and they weld a piece of frame rail material flat under the floor to join the frame together. That is one of the the weak points in the frame. The other weak point is where the frame turns in under the front of the body.
Also with the Scamp tank setup you would not gain any area to add tanks.
Casita has a 3" channel iron frame Scamp uses a 1.5 X 3" tube frame. (I think.) Fredericks picture was what I was trying to discribe.
Eddie
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:09 PM   #14
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I have no experience removing bodies from frames, but my inclination as an engineer would be to reinforce the weak areas (weak by design or usage). You need to avoid sharp transitions in the reinforced areas to avoid stress concentrations, but you don't necessarily need a whole new frame.
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