13' Burro trailer repair - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-25-2008, 05:08 AM   #1
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Trailer: 1983 13 ft Burro
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Have finally purchased a 1983 13' Burro, actually found one nearby, what a stroke of luck. I haved used the information on this forum daily for a number of months. Our little Burro is in great condition, and only needs minor work, except for the trailer frame. The area where the frame bends to form the A-frame and hitch is bent/cracked, and needs repair. Right now I have it patched so that I can move the trailer (still plowing snow here!). I would like to know the best repair technique for this damage. What do I need to know in order to remove the body from the frame, as I don't think it possible to repair unless the body is removed. Judging by the area of damage It would seem as though this is a common area of stress damage. I would rather not re-invent the wheel and am very happy to receive guidance from another member. The trailer does have electric brakes.
Trying to plan our first 'egg' trip for May!
Thank you.
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:50 AM   #2
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Rozanne, congrats on your Burro! As a former Burro owner, I'm always pleased to see Burros out there.

That is a common area for Burro frames to stress and break. The later Burros had straps (2"x24"x 1/4" or so bars) welded inside and outside the bend to add strength. Unless your frame is cracked completely through, a competent welder should be able to repair the crack, and then add straps to both sides (and bottom perhaps) to reinforce it so it won't crack again without causing any body damage.

Here's a photo of the side of the tongue on the '87 17' I had showing the reinforcing strap:


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Old 03-25-2008, 09:39 AM   #3
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I purchased my 13 with the crack there. This is not uncommon for this style frame and size coach on older units.

I had a good welder sister in a "Box" practically a frame outside the frame on it. (I had one strap repair to it but that turned out pretty bad, cruddy welder)

After the "good" welder fixed it, I had zero concerns about it.

My 17 is re enforced from the factory there.
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Old 03-25-2008, 03:07 PM   #4
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My 81" Burro has that type of fix , Has to be at least 8 yrs old. ( I have had the trailer for 5 years) No problem so far.
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:10 PM   #5
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Unfortunately the side is cracked completely. I like the idea of sistering strapping to re-inforce. I assume the Burro has to be removed from the frame to do this type of repair. any words of guidance would be appreciated as it looks like there are a series of screws across each cross member to attach the Burro to the frame. Ay hidden attachments that i am not aware of? I already plan to remove, replace and re-route the copper line for the furnace, the connection is in a difficult to reach place underneath.
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:26 PM   #6
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Mine was done without removing the frame. I had to remove the propane tanks, for obvious reasons, but a good welder can avoid excess heat on the coach.

My sistered parts + welds went all the way to the top of the frame member within 1/8th of an inch of the actually upper portion of the member.

Does it have the aluminum frame?
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:36 PM   #7
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1 pic of my welds. (Sorry. it's the only one I got here)

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Old 03-25-2008, 05:10 PM   #8
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My body wasn't removed. A good welder can do it without damage
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:54 PM   #9
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Remember when adding gussets, reinforcement, etc, don't lay the patches on using verticle welds. (in other words don't use square or rectangle pieces of metal) Always strive to end up with the welds as close to a 45 degree angle to the frame as possible. The straight up and down welds are a weak point and potentionally can crack there again. Also, instead of slabbing a piece of angle or square tubing on, explore the method of "bridging" the weak spot. (Think of a metal truss- stronger and lighter than a solid beam) I trussed my Scamp frame. (can post pictures if wanted) Larry (also did it without removing body)
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:28 PM   #10
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I have better pics at home, but what you see in the limited one above is done at a 45 on the front side, fore and aft

This is the inside of the "Box". The lower piece is actually an angle aluminum (If there is such a thing) with notches cut on the bottom half so that it formed a bend. The notchedges were then welded together when off the frame to form a bent piece.

The vertical weld you see is on the cross brace and not the frame member. That is the back "strap"

He really did a beautiful job and I have not seen another like it. Way above and beyond. Even other welders complimented it. This, as I understand, is not common in that industry.

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Old 03-25-2008, 06:54 PM   #11
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Thank you for the help. I was not looking forward to removing the Burro from the frame. So I will pursue an on frame boxed/strapped welding repair. Now if the weather would cooperate ie. warm up we can get on with the project.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:24 PM   #12
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Here you can see the outside and what it looks like from the top.


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Old 03-25-2008, 09:25 PM   #13
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[quote]Here you can see the outside and what it looks like from the top.


Attachment 12246


Gina- yup that's the type of angled weld I was referring to. And since that is aluminum, he was an artist. That stuff is hard to weld. (TIG) Larry
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:22 PM   #14
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This guy is FAA certified. Even tho his shop is dedicated to trailers, mostly horse rigs, he is often called to work at the several area small airports.

He is about to retire and move out of the area, but he has a protege' that has worked closely with him for a few years and I will still take my work to him. He has designed a locking battery box for me and will do a generator box for me as soon as I bring it to him. I also want him to replace the chains holding my fresh and waste tanks. He will construct brackets and strap for them.

Very busy shop, It's hard to get in. He did one other members trailer here. She was just as happy with his work.
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:54 AM   #15
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I took a few pics of the break (my first photo posting) . I will be discussing your repair experiences with my welder this weekend. I can't wait to get this repaired, and of course for camping weather. It is snowing this AM! I am so impressed with my little Burro,what a nice design. We have a New Hampshire-Maine trip planned for June, but would like to do local camping in the ADKs to fine tune towing and packing skills. Good bye tent.....
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:16 AM   #16
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oh my. Thats a little more than a crack

I am thinking a splint isn't going to fix that. That may be major surgery. Call a mobile welder and have him come look. Get references before you hire anyone. That is some serious stuff there, and may be a frame removal, or a complete new frame. The rust on that thing is scary.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:39 AM   #17
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Hmmmm --- just what my Scamp would have looked like if I hadn't caught it.... Mine was cracked all the way to the top, just hadn't finished...... And I had just came out of the hills from a hunting trip. Actually, the rust looks just like surface rust (not what we call cancer). Talk to a pro, someone who works in a fabrcation shop or does truck/trailer repair. My local advisor would not be daunted by that. Keep the faith- all is not lost. Larry
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Old 03-26-2008, 01:26 PM   #18
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Hard to tell from the photos, but it may not be all that much worse than a crack.

One really doesn't FIX a crack by welding it back together because the heat of the weld will only make crack again beside the old one. What the welder does is reinforce the areas on both sides of the crack to bridge the weak point and spread out the stresses. It's relatively immaterial whether the crack had progressed to a break or not.

Kinda like a broken arm -- Regardless of the kind of fracture, the end result is a cast.
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:08 PM   #19
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You are right it is bad looking but I have poked around the frame with a screwdriver and the metal is solid. The rust is just surface. The guy I purchased the Burro from had towed it down a back woods (snowmobile) trail in the summer and the road was a little more than 'rough'. The seesawing action between the hitch and Burro was just too much. By the time the he realised the road was too rough and wasn't ending anytime soon it was impossibly narrow to do much more than continue on. At least it was not high speed damage. Oh well.
I will be calling a mobile welder to get an estimate. I will photograph the repair when it happens. Wish us luck!
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:09 PM   #20
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Have any of you ever heard of Lock N Roll hitches? I spoke with an avid off-roader who had one on his teardrop trailer and he swore by them! He is able to negotiate very rough terrain while pulling his trailer. The hitch alleviates stress on the tongue and frame by allowing the trailer to move up and down on the hitch as well as side to side. Your trailer cannot come off the hitch because it does not use a standard type ball. This hitch may be the answer to many of the problems FGRVers have with their trailer frames. Here's what the manufacturer says about their product:

SAFETY
This is a heavy duty product. These hitch and couplers are designed and manufactured by a blacksmithing family who trace their skills back five generations. All units conform to the requirements of SAE standard J684 and are tested by independent labs.

360° ROTATION & THREE AXIS OF MOVEMENT
This eliminates twisting damage to vehicle & trailer frames caused by sudden changes in vehicle-trailer orientation while on a construction site, farm, or off roading.

POSITIVELY SECURED CONNECTION
Once the latch plates are locked in place Lock N' RollŪ will never pop off like ball hitches do. Everything is in plain view to eliminate any question of whether or not the trailer is hitched correctly. The positively secured connection keeps you in control so minor mishaps on the road don't turn into major accidents.

EASY TO USE Lock N' RollsŪ wider range of movement makes it easy to couple and uncouple.

DRIVING COMFORT
Lock N' RollŪ provides a very tight, close fitting connection that eliminates "thunk & jerk" action of conventional hitches. Nearly any terrain can be negotiated safely making this hitch ideal for off road (4x4), as well as horse trailers, boats and RVs. The 360 degrees rotation along with the left to right and up and down articulation allows fantastic maneuverability especially when backing a trailer into position.

Patented (US# 5,647,604) Limited Lifetime Warranty Made entirely in the U.S.A.

And here is the website address: http://www.locknroll.com/features.aspx


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