Frame braking.... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-12-2017, 11:25 AM   #1
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Name: Steve
Trailer: "Currently Shopping"
California
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Frame braking....

Hello, I just joined up here, hoping to gain some knowledge about the fiberglass camper trailers. I have seen 2 already with the frame/s braking, about below the door. How much of an issue is this, or is it a fluke that I came across two in the same condition on my first day of searching?
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:39 AM   #2
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Name: John
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
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Steve,

Its not a fluke but a known problem on certain FGRV models. In some cases the manufacturer designed fixes, issued recalls, etc. Others can provide details.

Also, on what brand/model(s) did YOU see this problem?

Thanks, John
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:18 AM   #3
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Name: Jim
Trailer: 2015 Casita 17SD
Miami, FL
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Steve, there's nothing unique about the frames of fiberglass trailers. They're made of steel and no different from other trailers. Frames typically break due to some combination of poor design, age/rust and overstress (accidents, abuse, etc.) If you are looking at older trailers it's obviously going to be more of a concern than on newer ones.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:33 AM   #4
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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The fiberglass trailer frames are based mostly on the original Boler design with the underslung floor with a dropped section of frame at he door for a flat floor for easy access.
Under the door is a section of the same tubing as the main frame is made of.
This section is laid with the long side horizontal instead of vertical making it weaker than the vertically oriented sections.
The door area is weaker in the vertical plane where the loads actually are and this causes the stress to flex in this area, particularly at the places where it reconnects to the vertical sections of the frame.
The frame flexes here and also this causes stress to be reflected on the opposite side in the bend where these trailers also have breaking problems.
I reinforced this area on my frame rebuild along with replacing the flat sheetmetal carry through from the left to the right.
Here is a picture of the reinforced part of my frame.

Here is a picture from the other side showing the added reinforcement.

If you noticed the frame was also lengthened to bring the "bend" forward to allow for the installation of a front bath.
I also added a cross brace between the two bends to carry and share stress from left to right.

Fron the front outside of the trailer.

I also added reinforcement from the cut off section of the frame that the axle sits on all the way to under the section that goes forward to form the tongue.

The two 1 1/2" X 3" sections are welded together to make the 6" deep frame section.
I used heavy wall tubing instead of the lighter gauges used when my trailer was built.
I also added 1 1/2" square tubing to the periphery of the trailer to bons the floor to and also added steel wheel wells at the same time for clearance for larger wheels and tires.

These added braces hold the floor and then that floor is fiberglassed into the shell making it shell a part of the stiffness of the overall trailer.
All of these and other reinforcements and additions has definitely added to the weight of my trailer, but I am also pretty sure that it will out last me as well.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:57 AM   #5
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
North Carolina
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I think it is more a testiment to the longevity of molded trailers versus stick built. You commonly see 40 year old molded trailers still in use without major rebuilding, while the surviving stickies are often full on restoration projects.
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:09 PM   #6
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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I believe you are correct and since mine is a 1985 it is now 32 years old so I guess it deserves some attention now.
However I think that the changes I have made will let it go for a long time longer at the expense of greater weight.
The original idea was to keep the weight down so that they could be towed by smaller vehicles.
I was shooting for under 2800 lbs. ready to go.
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