Rough Roads - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-30-2006, 11:22 PM   #1
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I'm looking for a long-term traveller. Lots of dry-camping, lots of boondocking. Thinking about a 16+, or maybe one of the 5th wheel variants. My main question at this point is will one of these neat little eggs survice an extended diet of baad roads. One of my favorite places is 45 or 60 miles of washboard and rock-strewn road from the nearest pavement. (Saline Valley in CA anyone?) Obviously, speed will make a big difference. Also any owners in the Eugene, OR area who would be willing to chat.

Thanks in advance for any responses / advice.
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Old 03-31-2006, 07:20 AM   #2
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There are so many variables. like you say 'the speed you travel' will affect it, but also how well you care for your wheels and such.
We have had at least three who have gone to Alaska. I understand that is one rough trip. Don't remember any of them mentioning the trailer breaking down except for minor rivet replacement or maybe a hinge or something. But then you have to start out with a good axle and frame. Some of those have gone while on a highway.
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:54 AM   #3
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I would look at a Burro or UHaul. They have no rivets, all the furniture is molded as part of the inner shell. Dual shells on both brands make them a bit more weather worthy, in cold and warm areas.

The Uhaul has an industrial strength frame designed for abusing renters.

Finding either in a 16 or 17 will be tuff, but doable. I think there is a 17 ft Burro in the for sale section now. In Sacremento.
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:50 PM   #4
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I had the same question about a year ago when I got my 13' Scamp. Just go slow... very slow. Make sure everything is sealed up tight, windows, vents, etc. I've even cut a piece of 6mil. plastic to cover the frig. vent. (I never run the frig. while moving.) Proper tire inflation is critical, too hard and you bounce the trailor around and risk getting a flat, too soft and you could ruin the tires.

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Old 04-01-2006, 10:08 PM   #5
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Many of the older Bolers, Triple E's, Trillium's I have seen up here in Nothern BC are literaly beat to hell because we have the worse roads in the province and most of the guys that own them take them out hunting over very rough roads. They are just junk after that. These smaller FG trailers where never really designed for that type of abuse. Most of the frames are too frail for one thing. I have lost count of how many broken frames I have seen with some of the worse welding repairs, gobs of weld with scrap chunks of metal scabbed on.
As Fred says, take it real slow and easy if that is what you are going to do!
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:28 AM   #6
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Frankly, if you're talking about real back-country camping... Jeep, Land Cruiser, or Land Rover style I don't think that one of these is going to be your best bet. They just aren't engineered to take that kind of abuse.

There are a number of tent trailer manufacturers that have come up with high-clearance, armored bodied trailers that would probably be a better choice.

Here are a few links:

Tentrax

Haultent

Paramount (This one's Australian, but an interesting design; there are lots of similar trailers built in Austrailia if you can figure out a way to import one!)

Starcraft RT

Jayco Baja

Fleetwood Evolution

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Old 04-02-2006, 12:25 PM   #7
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I can personally vouche for the quality on rigidity of the Austrailian made trailers. I owned a little Kamparoo that I hauled where ever my Element would go. The only wierdness I had with it was the door on the wrong side

It was still a tent trailer tho. It set up easier than most, but it was a complete set up. Everything had to be stowed for travel.
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:12 PM   #8
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I've noticed the tendency to small rugged tent trailer in Australian web and print publications aimed at off-road enthusiasts. One more of this group with U.S. distribution is King Kampers. I don't know what these people use for enclosed travel trailers, although they seem to do a lot of campers based on four-wheel-drive utility vehicles.

The Kamparoo is carried by Outback Kamping Inc. - if this is the unit I am thinking of, it may now have a normal (for North America) entrance side.

One interesting feature of a trailer in Roger's list: the Jayco Baja has shock absorbers. I believe that long suspension travel and proper damping (by shocks) would go a long way towards saving a fiberglass shell from a shattering experience.
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:23 PM   #9
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Go check out your favorite off-road wheel/tire store. Mount up the biggest, baddest, puffiest tires on the widest wheels that will fit under your rig. They will advise you on maximum and minimum pressures.

Invest in a good electric tire pump and gage, so you can reduce pressure to the minimum for slow off-road travel and increase for highway travel.

Beef up the frame at its weak points.

Pack only the minimum amount of stuff.

Tie everything down.

Have fun.
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Old 04-05-2006, 07:23 PM   #10
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Talking

Thanks to all for the responses. Pretty much what I expected (sigh). I'm looking for a replacement for my VW Syncro van, maybe a little larger and a little more long-term, without going to an $80,000 rig like a big 4wd Sportsmobile van conversion. Tent trailers might be a possibility -- I've seen some of the Australian variety on the web, but I'd prefer the convenience and ready-to-go-ness, and weatherproofness of a solid body. I may be able to visit the Burro factory this summer and see what they have to say. Anybody ever seen one of these mounted on a truck?

Well, I'll be sticking around for a while if anyone else has a comment.

Mike
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Old 04-05-2006, 07:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
I may be able to visit the Burro factory this summer and see what they have to say. Anybody ever seen one of these mounted on a truck?

Well, I'll be sticking around for a while if anyone else has a comment.

Mike
Sorry to tell you Mike, Burro went out of business several years back...even tho their website is still active. Your own chance of ownership is "used."

And yes, we have a couple of pictures here on FiberglassRV showing eggs mounted on a flatbed truck...maybe I can find em, if someone doesn't beat me to it!
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Old 04-05-2006, 07:37 PM   #12
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Thanks, Donna. You saved me a trip! I really would have been . So who are the active mfrs? And thanks for this neat site. Lots of good info no matter what I decide to do.
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:10 AM   #13
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Ya gotta checkout the Helpful-Links in the Left Nav bar, under Resources

then, click on "Trailer Brands" I could provide the URLs, but think you'll get more out of the site if you snoop on your own

Here's the topic of an egg mounted on a flatbed truck: Egg Camper

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Old 04-06-2006, 01:33 PM   #14
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...Anybody ever seen one of these mounted on a truck?...
One of the decisions which I would expect to make in preparing an egg-on-truck motorhome would be whether to mount just the fiberglass shell and floor directly on the truck frame (probably with spacers) or to use the trailer frame (or equivalent) to support the shell.

These moulded fiberglass trailer bodies support themselves without additional framing in the walls or roof, but depend on the (normally steel) frame - they cannot take any stress by themselves, and are normally supported at many points around the frame. If the frame twists too much, the fiberglass is unable to follow the movement without cracking.

With the direct mounting approach, there is no extra structural weight, but the truck frame must be stiff enough that the shell is not flexed excessively. If a separate frame it used, it can mount to the truck frame at three points (not four), and flexing of the truck frame will not cause any stress for the trailer. A three-pointed-mounted frame seems like a good idea to me for rough roads.
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Old 04-06-2006, 02:23 PM   #15
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2 words brother. Used UHaul.

I don't know of a tougher fiberglass unit.

A.


http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/eastman_camps/my_photos

pictures speak volumes


One of my favorite places is 45 or 60 miles of washboard and rock-strewn road from the nearest pavement. (Saline Valley in CA anyone?)
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Old 04-09-2006, 08:08 AM   #16
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Many of the older Bolers, Triple E's, Trillium's I have seen up here in Nothern BC are literaly beat to hell because we have the worse roads in the province and most of the guys that own them take them out hunting over very rough roads. They are just junk after that. These smaller FG trailers where never really designed for that type of abuse. Most of the frames are too frail for one thing. I have lost count of how many broken frames I have seen with some of the worse welding repairs, gobs of weld with scrap chunks of metal scabbed on.
As Fred says, take it real slow and easy if that is what you are going to do!
Hi Con
We have a '73 Trillium with what still appears to be a sound frame;I am seriously looking at reinforcing the front frame sections, but do not know the exact loc'n to reinforce.Certain areas look suspect as being possible weak areas, judging from where frame bends, or where "pockets" have been formed in the shaping process when manufactured, or even where the bolt anchors the frame to the shell.You have seen frame failures...can you accurately describe spots that continually crop up as failure points on Trilliums? What placement of reinf. plates hold up best in your opinion...bottom, sides or both?

Joe
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:01 AM   #17
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The weakest area is the bend under the front corner of the coach where the frame changes from parallel rails to a VEE.

Some units have the frame flanges notched and welded. I would consider these the weakest unless reinforcing has been added. Others are die formed.

The jouncing of the trailer not only applies bending forces, but also twisting forces to this area of the frame.

Ten engineers would come up with ten favorite solutions, all of which would work. My favorite would to prepare a heavy sheet metal, (1/8 th cold rolled steel perhaps or thinner) skid plate fitted and welded under the frame from the hitch coupler extending perhaps a foot into the parallel portion of the frame. Drainage holes should be placed appropriately.

I haven't done this yet. I'm sure there are many ideas just as good and some better out there. There have also been some interesting posts describing lengthening the frame tongue.

In any case, this problem is much easier to attend to at your home base than on the road. DAMHIK. (Don't ask me how I know.)
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:21 AM   #18
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I posted this a few wks ago. Camper mounted on a truck.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=18596



Quote:
Anybody ever seen one of these mounted on a truck?

Well, I'll be sticking around for a while if anyone else has a comment.

Mike
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:57 PM   #19
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I posted this a few wks ago. Camper mounted on a truck.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=18596
Thanks, E-man, and if you took the road out to Racetrack, that's as good a recommendation for your U-Haul as I could ask. You weren't that far from Saline Valley. The van/trailer combo looks pretty good. I'm thinking of something maybe even a little more rugged. This outfit in Wyoming builds an "Expedition Vehicle" based on a Mitsubishi FG 6 X 6 truck that would be just the thing, but I'll bet they are $100K +. Can't find the link now, I'll add it later.

If you're heading north and passing thru Eugene, OR, give me a shout.

Michael
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:49 PM   #20
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Sorry Joe, I haven't been following this thread for awhile so I didn't pick up on your response.
I don't think I want to say exactly how or where to gusset the frame on a Trllium with out taking a good look at it. However as a guide I would venture to say that 1/8"fish plates on either side any where there is a bend in the frame would work.
Fish plates on the top or bottom of the frame rail would add almost no structural strength to a vertical bending moment. Fish plates on the sides will give you much more strength.

As someone else mentioned do not do a vertical weld across the ends as the heat of the weld will affect the molacular structure of the metal. This would only be advisable if you can heat the hell out of the frame with a tiger torch to stress relieve it. I have had the fabrication shops do that on pump bases we had rebuilt for the pulpmill that were critical for strength and maintaining alignment. But I don't think you could do that on your frame without burning something.

I wouldn't worry about the dimpled frame at the bends.

If you do it yourself, grind the surface where your weld is to free of any paint, and clamp the fish plates on with welding vise grips. Do short stitch welds on each in the same area on each side of the frame. Too long of a continuiuos weld on one side will warp the frame so that the plates won't fit flat to the frame. Gradully you fill in the spaces in between the stitches and you are done. You would be amazed at how much the heat of a weld will pull the metal in one direction.

Either a 250 amp. AC/DC welder (Buzz Box) with 1/16" rod or a 130 amp. mig welder with 030"wire should be able to do the job. I believe the frame wall is 1/8" and the fish plates are 1/8" it should work.

If you take it to a competent welder he will know this procedure and /or a modified slightly mofidied procedure.

Does this help?
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