Bolts to frame... WHERE? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 03-29-2021, 05:44 PM   #1
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Bolts to frame... WHERE?

I keep reading about people finding their bolts completely rusted. I would like to check mine, but do not know where they are! Any clues?

1989 Lil Bigfoot
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Old 03-30-2021, 07:23 AM   #2
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Bolts/ screws

I would think if you crawled under the trailer you could see where the bolts or screws come through the frame.
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Old 03-30-2021, 07:33 AM   #3
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Maybe these threads will help you.


https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...oot-73762.html


https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...e-73815-2.html


https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...lts-70866.html
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Old 03-30-2021, 07:34 AM   #4
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Iím not sure how the 1989 Lil Bigfoot is constructed, but our 1988 Bigfoot Silver Cloud has the entire underneath area covered in spray foam for insulation purposes. Thereís no way to find the bolts by simple observation. Itís a good idea, but may not work.
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Old 03-30-2021, 08:37 AM   #5
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Donít think the Lil BIgfoot has that. Agree that getting under the trailer is your best bet. Take a pair of pliers and give the nuts a gentle twist to see if any are loose.
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Old 03-30-2021, 10:53 AM   #6
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Crawling under trailer :splat

Good heavens. Y'all so funny.

You have me confused with someone who crawls under things!

I think my husband did have a "creeper" somewhere in his stash of stuff, that might help. But preferrably I'll talk some helpful person into doing this for me. My gardener was nice enough to give the Lil B a good scrub down last fall.

I'm just now going inside, removing dusty gear that's been stored in there, taking inventory, looking at what all needs to be fixed. I would really like to replace the counter top in there and possibly get rid of the stove (but no replies have appeared to my other thread asking about how to get the counter out).
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Old 03-30-2021, 10:59 AM   #7
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Well, Alan, you are right. I guess it's been 5 years since we went through that entire axle replacement nightmare, and although I remember reading about bolts to the frame back then (and worrying about them), I really did not remember at all having such detailed discussions about the bolts.

Several replies in the threads above are very helpful... so my solution is to print those out now and add them to my Lil B binder.

Also, since she has been sitting for 3 years and her tires are 5 years old, she'll need new ones before I take her anywhere. Maybe I can get the tire guys to help me look at these bolts while she is jacked up (by the frame, not the axle).
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Old 03-30-2021, 11:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllPea in CA View Post
You have me confused with someone who crawls under things!
It's not the things I crawl under that bother me as much as the things that crawl under me!

Having the trailer on a hard, smooth surface (like concrete) to get under it is helpful to see what's crawling around under there. I raise mine on jack stands for storage (high enough so the wheels are off the ground). That's the best time to get under it. I don't much like it either, but a creeper on a hard surface with the trailer (safely) raised isn't awful...

You should have seen me the time a 3' snake became trapped between the engine and the large plastic air deflector under the front of my Pilot. It died and I had to get the carcass out.

It can always be worse!
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Old 03-30-2021, 11:35 AM   #9
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Having the trailer on a hard, smooth surface (like concrete) to get under it is helpful. I like to see what might be crawling around under there. I raise mine on jack stands for storage (high enough so the wheels are off the ground). That's the best time to get under it. I don't much like it either, but a creeper on a hard surface with the trailer (safely) raised isn't awful...

You should have seen me the time a 3' snake became trapped between the engine and the large plastic air deflector under the front of my Pilot. It died and I had to get the carcass out.

It can always be worse!
OMGOMGOMG

Fortunately, the little sweetie IS on level concrete behind a gate on the side of my house. In our previous abode she was on gravel with weeds and stickers (we mowed them down but they were pernicious).

I do realize I can tilt her front up significantly and get a look at the front bolts... maybe. Hubby also had an AWESOME floor jack... the kind those NASCAR guys use. So maybe there is a way.
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Old 03-30-2021, 12:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by EllPea in CA View Post
I do realize I can tilt her front up significantly and get a look at the front bolts... maybe. Hubby also had an AWESOME floor jack... the kind those NASCAR guys use. So maybe there is a way.
If you do jack it up, even if it is just the front, be sure to have a failsafe in place. Don't rely on the jack only to keep it in position.
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Old 03-30-2021, 12:49 PM   #11
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If you do jack it up, even if it is just the front, be sure to have a failsafe in place. Don't rely on the jack only to keep it in position.
Yes! I use a floor jack only to raise and lower onto jack stands. Get a good quality pair with a safety pin. I'd use four if I were going to be doing extended work underneath. For storage or a quick inspection with wheels on, I'm comfortable with two plus the tongue jack and rear stabilizers.
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Old 03-30-2021, 01:02 PM   #12
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If you do jack it up, even if it is just the front, be sure to have a failsafe in place. Don't rely on the jack only to keep it in position.
Excellent reminder, thanks!
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Old 03-30-2021, 01:05 PM   #13
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....if I were going to be doing extended work underneath...


Yíall so funny!
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Old 03-30-2021, 04:57 PM   #14
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Ellpea
Toykiter, posted a photograph of our ( converted boat frame ) in one of the old posts listed above. ( center one, page 2 ) His picture shows the frame.
One can see the 4 bolt holes, at the rear of the frame (2 each side ) the frame at the front shows large frame spacers welded on top of the frame, that go up inside the FG shell.
Looking inside the front seat compartment. there are 2 large angled bumps, molded into the floor. they are approx. 4"s wide and 16"s long, 3"s high. The frame protrudes up into these molded channels. This is where the front ( 3 each side) #12 Philips head screws with 2" washers are located, holding the shell to the frame.
Your can't see any bolts at the front on my 1993 trailer.
My fresh water tank on the passenger side covers those rear bolts. The driver side rear bolts easily accessible are 14"s apart. just looking up under the rear of the trailer you can see the rear bolts. Don't need to jack the trailer up.
Where do I find what you did when you put on a new axle.
I put 2x2x12"steel tube spacers under my existing axle mount. to raise it up 2"s. Bolted in place not welded.
Most people don't know, if the axle is not bolted to the frame, it could just break in half. The axle holds the angled front part to the parallel rear part.
I am going to cut my existing axle off at the outside face of the frame. It is leading link. Leave the center part of the axle in place. ( too hold the frame together )
Weld bracketing to the front angled section of the frame ( it is 13 degrees ) making it parallel to the rear part of the frame. It will be 49"s wide.
I will buy a Dexter #10 axle detuned to 2500lbs. trailing link.

Later Kenny
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Old 03-31-2021, 03:04 PM   #15
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Ellpea
Toykiter, posted a photograph of our ( converted boat frame ) in one of the old posts listed above. ( center one, page 2 ) His picture shows the frame.
One can see the 4 bolt holes, at the rear of the frame (2 each side ) the frame at the front shows large frame spacers welded on top of the frame, that go up inside the FG shell.
Looking inside the front seat compartment. there are 2 large angled bumps, molded into the floor. they are approx. 4"s wide and 16"s long, 3"s high. The frame protrudes up into these molded channels. This is where the front ( 3 each side) #12 Philips head screws with 2" washers are located, holding the shell to the frame.
Your can't see any bolts at the front on my 1993 trailer.
My fresh water tank on the passenger side covers those rear bolts. The driver side rear bolts easily accessible are 14"s apart. just looking up under the rear of the trailer you can see the rear bolts. Don't need to jack the trailer up.
Where do I find what you did when you put on a new axle.
I put 2x2x12"steel tube spacers under my existing axle mount. to raise it up 2"s. Bolted in place not welded.
Most people don't know, if the axle is not bolted to the frame, it could just break in half. The axle holds the angled front part to the parallel rear part.
I am going to cut my existing axle off at the outside face of the frame. It is leading link. Leave the center part of the axle in place. ( too hold the frame together )
Weld bracketing to the front angled section of the frame ( it is 13 degrees ) making it parallel to the rear part of the frame. It will be 49"s wide.
I will buy a Dexter #10 axle detuned to 2500lbs. trailing link.

Later Kenny
Kenny, Thanks for these details... I'm printing them and adding this to my trailer binder. I think you will be pleased with the trailing link as opposed to leading link. When you think about it, I can't imagine why leading makes any sense at all. (Maybe someone here can tell us?)

I found this photo in my old forum album. This is the old axle, the lowest point of which was only 4 inches from the ground. Hubby said someone had inserted a "teflon block" to raise things up a bit...



I just went out and got a sort of look at what is there now. It looks to me as though the frame was repaired with a plate (or possibly reinforced with the previous axle), and our new axle was installed slightly forward of the old. Perhaps that's because we now have trailing link?


(yah, those brake controls were hooked up to exactly NOTHING)

OR, the frame was damaged or weak before and this was a repair? I do think the frame/axle guys who did the work would have mentioned this. Or, if my hubby was worried he would have had them do something. (perhaps he DID, and this is what they DID). It's a mystery to me!

AlanKilian helpfully posted 3 forum links above, where there are various discussions there about our axle replacement saga (and bolts). Here they are again:



https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...oot-73762.html

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...e-73815-2.html

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...lts-70866.html

I believe back then I had promised to upload details of specs we used, etc., as my hubby had taken measurements and instructed the installers exactly what to order, etc., but I don't believe we got that spec sheet BACK. In a few days I will be going through my trailer files to see if there is something there that may help. (We have moved since this was done and it has taken a while for me to find things!)
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Old 03-31-2021, 04:17 PM   #16
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When you think about it, I can't imagine why leading makes any sense at all. (Maybe someone here can tell us?)
It's because of the drop-floor design first used by Boler. In order to mount the axle in trailing configuration, the axle tube has to be mounted much lower to clear the drop floor forward of the wheels. That requires blocks between the axle mount and the frame rails to gain the clearance needed.

A leading installation puts the axle tube under the raised dinette floor and mounts directly to the frame rails.
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Old 03-31-2021, 10:13 PM   #17
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It's because of the drop-floor design first used by Boler. In order to mount the axle in trailing configuration, the axle tube has to be mounted much lower to clear the drop floor forward of the wheels. That requires blocks between the axle mount and the frame rails to gain the clearance needed.

A leading installation puts the axle tube under the raised dinette floor and mounts directly to the frame rails.
I guess this makes sense in a Boler... but in a Lil Bigfoot the floor is the same level throughout... so why???
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:00 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by EllPea in CA View Post
I guess this makes sense in a Boler... but in a Lil Bigfoot the floor is the same level throughout... so why???
Maybe so the axle would mount behind the wheels where the frame is wider in Lil Bigfoot’s unique non-parallel frame design? Or maybe just following the crowd at the time. Maybe a little of both.

Just guessing.
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:40 AM   #19
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I guess this makes sense in a Boler... but in a Lil Bigfoot the floor is the same level throughout... so why???
As an engineer, sometimes things are not thought out. It may be as simple as they got a deal on those axles.

I worked for a chemical company that used a unique reactor design. No one else in the industry used the design. So I dug a little deeper. Turned out they bought their first reactor USED, when process equipment was unavailable (during Korean War). It was a batch sugar refiner. For the next 30 years, every new reactor they built was modeled after that used sugar refiner. At that point, someone finally asked the question, why are we using this design? Turned out to be an expensive and inefficient design, where the mistake was repeated dozens of times over many decades.....
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Old 04-01-2021, 01:05 PM   #20
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Your photograph of the axle with the white insert is just like what I did with the 2x2 square steel tube.

Thanks Kenny
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