Break/crack in the frame - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-03-2015, 11:27 AM   #15
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Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
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Dave, I guess I meant I saw some areas on the underside of the frame where straight pieces were welded together. I am curious how much straight lengths of the original frame are pieced together & welded as opposed to them being a continuous piece (which would make the most sense). For example, if a straight 10ft beam was needed, would a continuous piece be used or could they possibly use 2 5ft pieces, etc. Not sure anyone could even answer that!
Back in my VoTec Welding class days one of my Instructors said "don't be afraid to join pieces with a good weld". And of course a proper weld will be as strong or stronger than the base metals. That said, "a proper weld" is the operative term. The frame cracked on my Scamp, twice. Once just behind the front of the body on the Driver's side about 4"-6" back and then again just behind the patch they did to correct the first crack. So, my dos centavos is just go ahead and "sister" (reinforce) the whole area while you are under there doing it. My belief is that vintage Scamp 16 frames are too thin to begin with (and the axle too weak) and should be watched carefully.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:29 AM   #16
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Paul, what you say does make sense. However I can only see the outside & underside view. The view looking out is masked by another beam. Here is a picture looking directly up at it (laying on my back) Attachment 83453


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In this case I would try to probe through the cut with a short piece of straight wire, and/or shine a strong light down the tube. You do want to understand this for your peace of mind.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:30 AM   #17
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Oddly enough, when I measured from the front of the beam to the break it was 45in. There appears to be a weld on the other side of the wheel as well, also 45in from the weld to the rear. Identical on the other side of the camper. Makes me think these were pieced together on purpose. Are these called support beams? Welded to the underside of the "main frame." I think I agree with you Norm, that regardless what it is I should have it reinforced. Lucky for me, I live in a farm town!


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Old 05-03-2015, 11:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Timber Wolf View Post
Back in my VoTec Welding class days one of my Instructors said "don't be afraid to join pieces with a good weld". And of course a proper weld will be as strong or stronger than the base metals. That said, "a proper weld" is the operative term. The frame cracked on my Scamp, twice. Once just behind the front of the body on the Driver's side about 4"-6" back and then again just behind the patch they did to correct the first crack. So, my dos centavos is just go ahead and "sister" (reinforce) the whole area while you are under there doing it. My belief is that vintage Scamp 16 frames are too thin to begin with (and the axle too weak) and should be watched carefully.

Thanks for the info. I think I have talked to you before about my old axle, and am beginning to wonder if the lack of cushion in the axle is getting too rough on the frame of the camper.


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Old 05-03-2015, 12:18 PM   #19
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I think it's unusual place to have a break in the frame. Paul may be right in his analysis however I would have a plate welded over the cut/break. The cost is little.

Since we had a break and like David were on the road we called a local welder who came out to our campground and welded the two breaks, one on each side, on the spot. We then towed it to his shop were he completed the job. Subsequently we have had no other problems.

You can see the plate. It was welded at the bottom and at the ends, not at the topside. Personally I would not hesitate to do more reinforcing while the jobs being done, that's why I suggested the whole length.

I should have mentioned, I painted the bottom of our trailer white and the frame has been sprayed with white Rustoleum.


I've also included a picture of the fish tail piece because I've seen a picture with breaks just in front of Scamp's reinforcement piece. The sharp edge of their reinforcement piece is a natural breaking area.

I believe the design of the frame where it is bent to form the A is poor engineering and kick myself for not observing it and having it done before fracture, I would definitely reinforce that area.

As to finding a welder, the initial guy we used did a lot of farm equipment. I'm certain it's stronger now than it ever was. Most towns have a welding shop, particularly small towns. We use a guy in our town on occasion who would do the job without hesitancy. If you have friends into restoring cars, they'll know who to use. double click to blow up pictures.

Again how old is your trailer?
thank you for the pictures Norm! Would I be correct in saying that your break was on the "upper" frame? The main part that then forms the A, not the "lower" beam under it? I am definitely going to go ahead an reinforce mine. I am curious if the lower frame serves a support to the main frame & my break is not as serious as if it were to be on the beam above it. Its almost as if the weld rusted through or something...
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Old 05-03-2015, 01:06 PM   #20
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I think it's unusual place to have a break in the frame.
Agee with Norm that is not the usual suspect spots for cracks in the frame of a Scamp. Would be concerned as to the actual reason for it. Definitely would want the whole frame carefully checked over rather than just repair the one obvious spot.

I would not think the repair to by DIY kind of thing either unless of course you happen to be a pro welder.
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Old 05-03-2015, 02:25 PM   #21
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Our break is in the single member section, certainly more vulnerable particularly in the area of the bend.

The fact you live in farm country is probably good. We live in Florida farm country and our welder does mostly farm stuff, even building special pieces. You should be able to find the right guy for your task.

I painted my frame white because I think it goes with the trailer. Also a crack will quickly show up as a rust mark. Though we've had no problems I regular crawl underneath to check.

By the way I believe we still have our original axle. I've seen no signs of replacement.
To this point I haven't seen unusual bouncing of stuff in the trailer except on particularly rough roads.
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Old 05-03-2015, 04:05 PM   #22
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This looks like an additional box tube was welded in on the lower tube to closer to the front. On my 1986 the bottom tube ended there. I welded an additional tube myself here.
A 1/8" plate scarfed over this spot would be nice. I would clean off the rust first since the rust will make it hard to weld. Then weld the "crack and grind it down. Prime the metal to slow down runs between the tube and the scarf plate. Sand off the primer where the welds will be made and weld it up. 1/8" plate is thicker than the original rectangular tubes and the same as the newer tubes.
I would taper the scarf plate to end in the middle of the tube since there is no bending stress there. A plate over the top and bottom would not be a bad idea either.
I tapered this rectangular tube to have less stress concentration at that point.
If you look closely at the extreme right you can see where the new tube is welded into the original bottom tube and brought forward.

(There is a little misalignment at the front, but eh coupler came out in exactly the correct point)
You can see where this tube is tapered under the new part welded in at the old cross beam. This new tube is structural steel 10 gauge (1/8" think).

Here is a similar thing done on the passenger side. I added two cross beams since I was adding the front bath ahead of it.


I brought the frame forward to the end of the shell to make room for the bath and from there the 50* angle to the new Bulldog coupler. There are more additions to come up here (like the mini-split compressor and propane tank.
Note the splayed patch across the bend and the taper to the center of the tube. The extra cross member is welded at the bend to stop the squeezing stress and reinforce the weld.
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