Blueprint, schematic, specs on Lil Bigfoot frame? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-17-2016, 06:21 PM   #1
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Blueprint, schematic, specs on Lil Bigfoot frame?

Hello,

I've been emailing Grant at Bigfoot, but it seems they are unable to help us with our axle repair. He referred me to an axle company in Canada, who also wrote back and said they were unable to supply an axle for a non-parallel frame.

We're preparing to order a custom axle based on measurements our RV guy takes. We hoped we could get some kind of schematic of the frame from Bigfoot so we could be entirely accurate, but Bigfoot says they don't have any such thing, and referred me to Armadillo, which they say makes something "similar." (Well, "similar" might not work when ordering a custom item!)

Does anyone here have any legacy documents that might help us?

Thank you (as always).
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post

We hoped we could get some kind of schematic of the frame from Bigfoot so we could be entirely accurate, but Bigfoot says they don't have any such thing, and referred me to Armadillo, which they say makes something "similar." (Well, "similar" might not work when ordering a custom item!)
Sadly when Bigfoot closed down for a few years and then reopened under new ownership the new owners did not obtain the rights to all the old build sheets etc... sad but true.... someone told me that they had all actually been destroyed.

I suspect your going to have to put some faith in the "RV guy" you are using to order the axle through. Will he stand by his measurements and pay for it should he get it wrong? If not then perhaps you need to mind another guy to do the replacement for you. If it was me I am not sure I would be using a "RV guy" but an actual specialized axle repair shop/guy.
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Old 05-16-2016, 12:36 AM   #3
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Axle replacement saga continues

Carol,

Thanks for the explanation. It helped us move on from hoping the current Bigfoot company could help with this issue.

It was clear that our RV repair business was in over their head on this one. They really WANTED to help, made all kinds of contacts, did all kinds of research, but were not really getting any answers.

I kept digging locally until I found a commercial trailer repair business. They work on 18 wheelers and HUGE things. When I talked to them, they sounded hesitant about working on a little trailer, but also intrigued and challenged. They wanted to see it. Once they went under and got a look, they had no hesitation about wanting to help.

Hubby has worked with them to firm up measurements and plan what to do and what to weld to make a new axle work. This has all been shared with Dexter and we're now waiting (again) to hear from them about what they can provide and how long it will take.

Once we get this done, I'll upload copies of EVERYTHING here, so the next Lil Bigfoot owner who needs to do this will have someplace to start. I know there's another lady in Canada who finally gave up and put hers into storage -- it shouldn't be this hard!

I also want to point out that John Perry from this forum corresponded with us extensively and gave me hope that this wasn't a lost cause, and we really appreciate his assistance!
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Old 05-16-2016, 08:01 AM   #4
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That's great news Elipea! I've been following this, but had nothing helpful to add. Seems like every trailer has its "what were they thinking?" issues. My first thought when you shared your problem was I miss Bob Miller!
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Old 05-16-2016, 08:06 AM   #5
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Took our Casita to City Spring , here in Edmonton. They custom build axles. I don't see why it would be a problem to have anything made the way you need it. I would check for local spring shops and see if they do that sort of work, or just drive by and see if there are trailers in their yard waiting to be done. City Spring always have trailers there.
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Old 05-16-2016, 09:03 AM   #6
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Glad you are making headway. I suspect the key is/was to find a repair shop with lots of axle experience. I would though be VERY surprised to learn that Bigfoot made or had a very custom axle made just for the Lil Bigfoot as that is not normally how a manufacture of trailers would do it and I know there other larger trailers all used/have axles supplied by a axle manufacturer that are fairly easy obtained. Hopefully Dexter once given the measurements of whats on it will be able to come up with a solution.

While you are correct the Armadillo may not have the exact same axle, knowing who the manufacturer of its axle was may be a good lead.

We have a far number of Lil Bigfoot's in these parts so I would be very surprised if none of them have ever had the axle replaced and people are simple putting them in storage due to a lack of a replacement axle. Actually have not heard of that. Do not know how to contact anyone who owns one directly but I will file this topic away and be sure to ask the owner of any I run into this summer.

Like Jon, I suspect Bob would have had a good answer for you ... there have been more than a few discussions here of late that I suspect he would have been able to contribute some valuable words of wisdom on. :-(


Hope you get it sorted out before summer is in full swing.
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Old 05-16-2016, 12:28 PM   #7
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Ellpea, I'm sure you are not the first to experience this problem. As I see it, the issue here starts with the unusual frame design that requires a very unusual axle. I would think a frame modification to allow the use of a readily available, off the shelf, axle would be a better long term solution. If you have a good steel fabrication shop, welding shop, they might be able to help you. Can you get a look at the Armadillo frame, or specs on the Armadillo frame.
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:29 PM   #8
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Bob Miller????

Thank you for all of the responses on this, but my first question has to be... Bob Miller? I actually PM'd him a while back and didn't get a response, so thought he must just be out traveling. I have been off the forum most of the winter dealing with other projects and didn't notice him around when I came drifting back. If we've lost him this is very sad!

He talked me through this purchase, what to look for and what to look out for. He gave me his cell phone number so I could call him from the road if we had any questions as we drove up to see this trailer. Later, when we started the struggle to configure a hitch for the Volvo, he called and talked to several different people here offering advice and assistance. If someone can fill me in on what happened to him, I would sincerely appreciate it!
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:35 PM   #9
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I'm afraid we did lose him back in January to a sudden heart attack while he was out doing what he loved best: traveling with his molded fiberglass trailer.

Details and condolences here: Sunrader Bob (Bob Miller)
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:42 PM   #10
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What were they thinking!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
That's great news Elipea! I've been following this, but had nothing helpful to add. Seems like every trailer has its "what were they thinking?" issues. My first thought when you shared your problem was I miss Bob Miller!
Jon, I agree. In using a frame design that was not standard, Bigfoot built in difficulties for owners down the road! See my other post about Bob...
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:01 PM   #11
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City Spring

Dudley, I haven't found a City Spring in this neck of the woods. The problem with getting an axle made without the trailer onsite is the fact that the brackets on the axle are welded in factory at a right angle before the rubber spring stuff is inserted in the axle. They won't ship with the brackets free (to be welded on site) because the heat of welding would ruin the rubber spring. And the Lil Bigfoot problem (unlike the Casita), is that it was built on a frame with non-parallel rails, so right angle brackets won't work.

If the trailer were sitting there, I'm sure Dexter could come up with something right away (but they probably aren't interested in drive-in appointments, and we're too far away anyway). The commercial welding/repair business we're dealing with is huge, and looks like they can build anything out of anything. Hubby has given them a plan for a modification to the frame which should make mounting a new axle very easy.

Our biggest challenge was determining the angle of the trailing arm (I think that's the term), which we were told had to be set at the factory. In other words, no angle adjustments up or down once it was built. And I don't want my trailer prepped for off-roading... I want it to look just like it did when it came out of the factory, so determining the angle is a bit spooky. But apparently there IS an axle available with an angle that CAN be adjusted, AND we plan to weld a plate across the frame that will also help (allow us to move forward and back and adjust and THEN mount).

I think we've got the plan of action now, and the guys who can do it. Now I just want it DONE because I want to go places, and I don't know how many more doilies I can cram into this thing while I'm waiting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudley View Post
Took our Casita to City Spring , here in Edmonton. They custom build axles. I don't see why it would be a problem to have anything made the way you need it. I would check for local spring shops and see if they do that sort of work, or just drive by and see if there are trailers in their yard waiting to be done. City Spring always have trailers there.
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Old 05-17-2016, 03:07 PM   #12
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Lil Bigfoots (feet?) in storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post

We have a far number of Lil Bigfoot's in these parts so I would be very surprised if none of them have ever had the axle replaced and people are simple putting them in storage due to a lack of a replacement axle. Actually have not heard of that. Do not know how to contact anyone who owns one directly but I will file this topic away and be sure to ask the owner of any I run into this summer.
Carol, it's "denabear" on this forum who was having this same problem and eventually gave up. It was in reading through her thread that I found good advice from John Perry and others, contacted them offlist, and received necessary details. I checked back with her recently, and she wrote that she was still uncertain what to do, and had the trailer in storage.

Let me know if you run into others who've had to handle this problem. It's likely some people have found welder/repair people with good old American/Canadian ingenuity who've been able to fix things without a lot of drama, so therefore details are not recorded or posted to aid others who aren't so lucky. I hope we can assemble a file of info so details are there for those who need them.

Quote:
Like Jon, I suspect Bob would have had a good answer for you ... there have been more than a few discussions here of late that I suspect he would have been able to contribute some valuable words of wisdom on. :-(
I'm sure you are right, and it's sad to think that we won't be hearing from him on this forum. But like some others have said, he's on the other side. He probably already has the campfire started for our next rally over there.
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:53 PM   #13
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Finding the missing Bigfoot dimensioned frame drawings

Do Bigfoots (dimensioned drawings) still exist? Has someone destroyed all them as has been rumored? Lets see if the famous internet sleuth "Search Engine Corbin" can help you find the real answers to that question.

If you want to know for sure what has happened to all of the blueprints that were used for creating the frames and axles for the earlier Bigfoots then maybe you can find out from Craig Mayall who is the son of the original founders and owners of Bigfoot. He did work there. Personally I don't think those engineering documents were destroyed as is rumored. I think there are still copies of all of them. Most people don't throw out the life's work that they were very proud of. Children often do save family stuff.

Craig Mayall currently owns an RV repair business, Gilmay RV in Vernon, British Columbia, CA. They do repairs on Bigfoots. So if anyone knows how to fix those axles then he will be the go to guy. Here is the link to his company. http://gilmay.ca/about/
phone number: +1 250-503-2221
street address: 67 L&A Cross Road, Vernon, BC V1B 3S1, Canada

I am pretty good at turning over stones on the internet to find seemingly lost information sources. However I am not a Bigfoot owner so this is as far as I am going on helping to find out the information about your axle repairs. The actual contacting of Craig Mayall is something I will leave up to the Bigfoot owners in this forum who need axle help. The ball is now in your court.
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Old 06-10-2016, 12:05 AM   #14
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Craig Mayall who is the son of the original founders and owners of Bigfoot. He did work there, he can ask his folks what happened.
Might be difficult.

"Bigfoot Industries suffered a serious setback in the spring of 1998 when Terry Mayall, who founded the company, and two directors died in a plane crash near Moses Lake in Washington".
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