17 Foot Casita Tongue Question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-12-2017, 08:16 PM   #1
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Name: Charles
Trailer: Casita, Scamp
Washington
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17 Foot Casita Tongue Question

Hi all,

New here, and just upgraded to a 2006 17 foot Spirit Deluxe Casita from a 13 foot Scamp. One thing I did not notice, due to the positioning of the trailer when we looked at it, was that it appears the tongue is fairly bent at a slight angle upward. I highly doubt this is as-built, but there is absolutely no damage to the fiberglass shell itself, so I don't think it is caused by dropping or other damage. Should this be of concern? Hopefully we didn't purchase a problem. Other than that, it sure looks like the ticket we were looking for.

Thanks for any help.

CHUCK
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazs View Post
Hi all,

New here, and just upgraded to a 2006 17 foot Spirit Deluxe Casita from a 13 foot Scamp. One thing I did not notice, due to the positioning of the trailer when we looked at it, was that it appears the tongue is fairly bent at a slight angle upward. I highly doubt this is as-built, but there is absolutely no damage to the fiberglass shell itself, so I don't think it is caused by dropping or other damage. Should this be of concern? Hopefully we didn't purchase a problem. Other than that, it sure looks like the ticket we were looking for.

Thanks for any help.

CHUCK


Please post a picture or 2.....
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:56 AM   #3
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FWIW, the main frame rails should be straight from front to rear. Now, the hitch receiver on the tongue is welded on above the main frame rails, but it all should be straight to the eye. If you have some "bowing" of the A frame portion of the frame, I would have it checked. You may want to take it to a shop that can repair trailer frames and have them straighten it up, and while you're there, have them add some extra support gussets for additional support. Deformation of the frame, when it occurs, usually manifests itself just in front of the trailer shell where the main rails emerge from under the trailer body, at the point where they are bent inwards toward each other for the hitch. That bending, when the trailer is made, tends to weaken the frame rails in that area and this is usually where they will also crack.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:25 AM   #4
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Here's a picture from the Casita site to illustrate what Casita Greg described. The frames are manufactured from straight steel channel with a cross section similar to the second picture. The channels should be straight as measured in the horizontal plane. The coupler is mounted in an elevated position above them.
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Casita-at-Home--Slider.jpg  
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:00 AM   #5
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
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This is fairly common and here's what I did. I also later found a thread where a professional did basically the same thing and also added a cross piece under the gas bottles, I then made a new bottle mount out of heavy angle iron welded between the frame. It's been three years and everything is still fine.
First I'm not an engineer and am a self-taught welder, My welds are not pretty but hold up well. I put a lot of common sense thinking into this before starting.
I removed the hitch latch and fastened a 6 foot 4x6" board to the hitch and sat on the end of it, I'm 158 pounds, while supporting the frame with jack stands just in front of the axle. I had a hard time believing how flexible the curb side rail was. That was the deciding factor.
I felt that 1/2" square bar stock would be ample as the force would be "pulling" on it.
You buy steel by the length that it comes in, 20 or 24 feet I don't remember, at a steel supply place and it was just under $12 including tax.
To bring it home in my truck I cut it into two equal pieces.
I had a piece of 1 1/2" x 1/4" angle iron so I cut it into 1.5" pieces, the width of the flange of the frame rails.
I milled a slot in the center of the pieces, to have more contacting area to weld.
As you can see the height of the assembly is 1.5".
Starting from the front by the hitch I bent the 1/2 x1/2 bars to match the contour of the frame where it bends.
On a work surface starting from the front I laid out and welded the angle iron pieces every 10 inches along to the bar stock except between the 4th and 5th ones that is 8" and the 5th is in the center of the bend.
I positioned it into place and cut them to length leaving a few inches to overlap the 1.5 x1.5 square tubing between the axle and frame in the rear.
I started welding at the front angle iron standoff and worked rearward. The height in the rear aligns perfectly with the bottom of the 1.5" square spacer between the axle and frame.
Once the front standoff is welded it was easy to keep the bar stock and standoffs centered as it's fairly flexible.
The front end by the hitch was last. I bent them up by jacking the trailer up by them and had tapered the end to fit better.
Before cutting the bar stock to length measure each side!!!
My street side took a considerably shorter piece. Part of the reason the curb side flexed so bad
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Bend.JPG   Rear.JPG  

weld.JPG   Detail2.JPG  

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Old 09-14-2017, 10:52 AM   #6
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Name: Charles
Trailer: Casita, Scamp
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Thanks all for the replies; all very helpful. We'll take the trailer down to our local fixit yard and have it looked at. I don't see any structural damage, so they should be able to straighten it and add a little support. Too bad they don't use rectangular steal like our Scamp. Seems like that would eliminate the problem. I'll report back when all is fixed.

C
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:30 PM   #7
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The thing about the "boxed" rectangular steel is they use very thin metal and they are more prone to cracking. Plus you can't see inside for rust.
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Old 09-15-2017, 09:25 PM   #8
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazs View Post
Hi all,

New here, and just upgraded to a 2006 17 foot Spirit Deluxe Casita from a 13 foot Scamp. One thing I did not notice, due to the positioning of the trailer when we looked at it, was that it appears the tongue is fairly bent at a slight angle upward. I highly doubt this is as-built, but there is absolutely no damage to the fiberglass shell itself, so I don't think it is caused by dropping or other damage. Should this be of concern? Hopefully we didn't purchase a problem. Other than that, it sure looks like the ticket we were looking for.

Thanks for any help.

CHUCK
We have a 2007 Casita bought new from the factory. The frame should be straight. It was dropped or possibly jacked up wrong maybe with the back jacks down. Check the back jacks to make sure there's no damage on them or underneath. You will love the Casita after it is fixed. Your ball should be 19-19 1/2 inches from the ground. This should make you trailer level when towing. When you have it fixed make sure that is the height the tongue will sit at. You will have about 1 1/2 - 2 inch drop when the trailer goes on the ball. Hope this makes sense and helps.
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Old 09-16-2017, 07:02 AM   #9
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Could over-tensioning a WDH have caused the bend?

The only other cause I can think of would be popping off the ball and dropping hard, but the OP says there's no sign of anything like that.

Just wondering...
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:00 AM   #10
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Could over-tensioning a WDH have caused the bend?
Just wondering...
Yes IF the spring bars were rated for a heavier trailer.

My bars are properly set and rated for 300-600# and over time a slight bend became evident, I'm particular

Jacking the trailer up any which way (definetly not under the axle though) will cause it to flex but when lowered it will spring back. Jacking alone will not cause a permanent bend, mine is 18 years old.

Constant bouncing down bumpy interstate highways we have above the frost belt will over time cause it to bend.

Unlike the square tubing used on other makes that is more rigid and can crack over time the thicker channel iron used on the Casitas will flex but can eventually bend.
The same size channel iron is used on the 13', 16' and 17 foot Casita trailers and maybe should be a little stronger on the 17' ones.
My thinking is it flexes too much and too easily in the area of the door where the "egg's shell" is weakened by the large cutout for the door.

I've been reading Casita related forums for over 11 years and have only read about one incident where serious bending occured where the owner drilled a hole in the lower flange, a definet no no, right where it curves and goes back.

I've read about several that had minor bending.

Joe
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:15 AM   #11
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I tow a 2002 casita deluxe without any extra towing gear these trailers tow great I use a nissan short bed no tow bars ?
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Old 09-16-2017, 09:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Could over-tensioning a WDH have caused the bend?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Romas View Post
Yes IF the spring bars were rated for a heavier trailer.

My bars are properly set and rated for 300-600# and over time a slight bend became evident, I'm particular

<snip>

I've read about several that had minor bending.

Joe
I had not realized some have experienced this bending.

Our Casita had 1,000-lb bars on an Eaze-lift Elite WDH. The fact that the previous owner was from California and had probably picked up their trailer in Texas, along with the way everything was welded to the frame, made me suspect that the hitch was fitted by Casita that way.

However, I didn't have the factory invoice so I really can't say for sure. And, it struck me that they would certainly know better. So, perhaps this setup was fitted by another party.

Our frame was straight. I think the previous owners didn't take it out much judging by its overall condition and further including the lack of wear on the brakes.

I never used the WDH as we had such a good setup without it. I told my buyer that I would replace the spring bars with 600-lb bars if I were going to use it. I hope that he does.
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Old 09-16-2017, 11:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Snoopwagon View Post
I tow a 2002 casita deluxe without any extra towing gear these trailers tow great I use a nissan short bed no tow bars ?
To each their own.
I prefer a WDH to stop the purposing going over bumps

I understand Casita is now using the Andersen hitches for those wanting a WDH.
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Old 09-16-2017, 11:45 AM   #14
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Name: Charles
Trailer: Casita, Scamp
Washington
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Maybe another possibility for the bent tongue on my trailer.... I know several owners of small trailers put down the stabilizer jacks on the rear, and then jack the tongue up to firm up the trailer. Someone might possibly have torqued the tongue too much in this process. Hmmm.

CHUCK
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Old 09-16-2017, 12:07 PM   #15
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Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
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Chuck

What you suggest alone should not bend the frame.
Maybe flex it a little but it should spring back.
That's nothing like going down an uneven highway for hours on multiple trips.

Just stepping in used to cause the frame to flex by the door and I only weight 155#.
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Old 09-21-2018, 04:55 PM   #16
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Name: David
Trailer: Casita
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Just not very observant, I guess...

I realize that this is a fairly old thread, but I need some direction. I just let myself be flim-flammed ,I think. I'm old enough to know better, but I just let a serious problem get past me in purchasing my first Casita.

I suspect that the damage shown in the attached pics is from a flexing/bent frame at, or near the front of the shell. I've been searching the Inet trying to get an answer for what's going on, and I feel like (after reading this thread) that this is my problem. In the experience of current Casita owners here, is a bent frame the culprit? If so is there any hope of a fix?

I've been absolutely nauseated ever since I noticed it 1 day after I got it home. I"m prepared to live with my blunder, but if something can be repaired,...
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:50 PM   #17
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
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Get underneath and look at the frame where the frame rails are bent inward.
In that area is a 1.5x3 channel with the flat side up and the shell has many screws into it.
I suspect you'll find a problem in that area.
On the casita forum there is currently a thread about cracked frame and another replied that he had a 2003 that also had a cracked frame. First time I've heard of a 17' broken frame but there have been reports of a few bent ones.
But I can't imagine how the body got like yours is. Here's the link to Casita forum post.
https://www.casitaforum.com/invboard...cracked-frame/

Joe
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Old 09-24-2018, 11:45 AM   #18
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I appreciate your response, Joe. I did look underneath at the point you talked about. This one doesn't have a channel iron there. It does have a 1.5" X 1.5" angle iron which I suspect adds little structural strength. Not much more than a spacer, really. A 16' 1991 model.

I also laid a straight edge against the underside of the 3" channel iron frame and let it extend forward of the camper shell. It looks like the framel is bent up at a point about 8" back from the front of the shell (just about where the bend is forming the tongue). Flexing while driving down the road must have accomplished the damage in the pics. Separating the shell from the trailer to straighten it out is just plain out of the question.

The best welding shop I know is 3 miles down the highway from me. That guy has dealt with every kind of trailer imaginable. If he can't figure out a solution, then I guess I'm probably dead in the water.

Do you think that the self tapping screws that attach the shell to the frame could be backed off a bit by gripping them with vise grips and loosening? Just a small gap to pass a welding shield for protection??
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:20 PM   #19
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Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
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The self tapping screws are under the carpet and would be very difficult to locate all of them.

Thought you had a 17'. At one point the very early 16's had a very weak frame but as I understand those are from the 1980's.

Looking at your pictures it shows a body problem caused by a frame problem maybe.

So if your welder could straighten the frame then reinforce it in the front the way the front edge of your egg looks it might pull it down straightening it. and then possibly put something crosswise to support the whole front of the egg. Then you could put some fiberglass over the bottom area where it's kind of folded under sealing up any leaks.

Anything is possible. The 16's have a very light tongue weight and it's hard to imagine how yours got to where it is.
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