Boler Frame Crack fix or replace? Looking for advice. - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:22 PM   #21
Senior Member
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,601
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I disagree entirely.
Buy a tow vehicle that has the capacity to tow the trailer and has a brake controller, and buy a trailer with brakes. Seems lawmakers agree with me, since they require brakes on trailers over a certain weight ( how much weight depending on the jurisdiction ). They don't require a larger tow vehicle.
+10 I’ve seen light weight trailers roll big beefy tow vehicles. Given a choice, I’d pick brakes regardless. As a minimum, in an emergency it takes a lot longer to stop when towing a trailer without brakes.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:32 PM   #22
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Name: Borden and Carole
Trailer: 1978 Earlton boler 1700 RGH
Posts: 1,207

Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
+10 I’ve seen light weight trailers roll big beefy tow vehicles. Given a choice, I’d pick brakes regardless. As a minimum, in an emergency it takes a lot longer to stop when towing a trailer without brakes.
Agree; would want trailer brakes regardless as well for safety
Our postage stamp in heaven.
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:09 AM   #23
Junior Member
Name: Charlie & Renée
Trailer: boler
British Columbia
Posts: 21
Jackmac, where in BC are you located? I live in Surrey, BC and have swapped out the tired axel of my lifted '73 Boler for a new and stronger one with trailer brakes, using a local shop with expertise. The person who wires in your brake controller can easily wire your trailer brakes. I jacked up and blocked my trailer, unbolted the old axel and brought it to Vancouver Axel and Frame in Surrey. They supplied a Boler torflex type axel with brakes and used my old axel dimensions to install correct mounting plates on the new axel. I picked it up a few days later for $1,382. The new axel is really easy to height adjust if desired, and super adjustable for height. No doubt this outfit could properly repair your frame too!

Only one of the four axel mounting bolts is tough to access, the front one on the door side. You can reuse your old lift spacers but since their new axel is so adjustable I also swapped out my original trailer lift spacers for 7/8" thick flat plate spacers, just thick enough for the axel to clear the floor pan. Anyone with a drill press can fabricate these. You can do this removal and install with very basic tools and someone to assist you when installing the new axel as lining up the bolt holes can be a bit finicky. Unless you are a man of heroic proportions, you'll need help loading the old axel and unloading the new axel at home. ;-)
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Old 01-24-2021, 09:59 AM   #24
Junior Member
Name: James
Trailer: 1976 Boler Voyager 13'
Posts: 16
Cracked Boler frame

G'day: I've been through the problem of frame failure on the road on a 1976 Boler 13, even though the frame had been inspected, and welded,/ reinforced. The Boler frames were under-designed to start with, and never built to travel the distances/ speeds we now use or the lifetime. Cracks shown are indication of fatigue breaks due to flexing. Other areas have been equally stressed but don't show. That frame is finished--can -maybe- be welded for short term repair. Don't depend on it for long time and/ or distance.

With a new, heavier duty frame, it's possible to add extra mounting plates to the side of the frame for more secure body mounting, not the useless sheet metal screws as on the original. You will also find that the entire frame and body have no doubt sagged front and rear--indicated to some degree by an ill-fitting door, which a new frame will correct. For my rebuild, I removed and reinstalled the body myself, but had a certified welder build a new frame using 1/8 wall tubing, and using the old frame as a pattern.

The other question is whether your axle is original--if so, it is also toast. New axles are not that expensive, including brakes, and will renew your rig for a good long service life, making the investment worthwhile.
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:52 AM   #25
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Name: Jakalin
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 4
new frame / axle / brakes

Hi everyone,
This is not really a money question (of course money does count a bit).
I am 100 per cent getting electric brakes when I add the trailer hitch package.
I am looking for guidance and the language to articulate what I need for when I find a shop or shops to help me with this, as they will be limited where I live. I live in the Interior of B.C. - With the crack - I won't feel comfortable towing long distances to get to a shop.

For sure getting a big vehicle would work... but this is a 13' boler.. and I don't have it loaded with a bunch of stuff - so I suspect that even when loaded it is about 1500lb max. I really want to make it work with a Subaru Outback...

As far as additional weight... I don't generally even put water in it etc... I mostly cook and camp outside.. I put a 12V fridge in about 12 years ago and have never had the battery system working properly... lol.. throwing my ex under bus.. it wasn't his priority. I was always the one who loved the boler, so I'm the one fixing it up.. (I have taking down the old vinyl plastic ceiling and created an insulated panel instead etc, painted the ensolite and so on... )
This well as dealing with the frame.. and since my kids are grown up, I don't need the bunk beds anymore and would love to make a dinette there to convert to single bed.

I expect that I will put a few thousand dollars in to it to get it restored, fridge working and safe and easy to tow.

I bought the Koolatron fridge from the factory in Calgary that was making new bolers about 12 years ago and they put TWO marine batteries on THEIR tongueS for these fridges etc...I would like to try that.. but that will add some weight. That was a very interesting visit to their factory.

So for now.....I guess I will have a shop inspect the frame and then we will decide if I need a whole new one.. but looking at your posts... it doesn't look like there is a 'new one off the shelf' frame that I can simply purchase near me...but if any of you have experience with having a new frame put on in Canada and know where your shop ordered it.. that would be awesome.. anything I do will need someone who I can trust to make modifications that are safe. I am not sure if it is the original frame/axle. We bought it already modified about 20 years ago. It had already been raised. At the VERY minimum.. a new axle with brakes/tires/and the frame welded repaired will be requested.

I am hoping that I can print some of your answers to take in with me.

Which kind of axle would work best?
Which kind of brakes - for example.. I could get surge brakes but apparently they are hard to back up. Which electric brakes should I ask the shop to order?
Which hitch?

I really appreciate all of your help and your experiences with your own small trailers... I will make as many fixes as I can by myself - cause I am passionate about this little boler and it is a fun hobby to have.. as well as being so very lovely to camp with.
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Old 01-24-2021, 11:50 AM   #26
Junior Member
Name: Jim
Trailer: Boler
Posts: 10

Our 74 Boler was built in the Peace River factory and the frame was reinforced when it was built. I replaced the axle about 7 years ago, without brakes. The frame was repaired twice, despite the factory reinforcement, so we opted for a new frame from Metro Trailer in Winnipeg. They have come up with a one size fits most frame that they will install or ship to you. They use slightly larger gauge metal than the original and they galvanize the frame. I had them install a new axle at the same time and sold the 5 year old one. The original frames were under engineered and they are 40-50 years old. A repair will just stress the next weakest point more until it fails. I had tapped the frame with a ball peen hammer 2 weeks before the second failure and did not notice a problem. If you're replacing the axle anyway, brakes can't hurt but modern cars have very good brakes, so towing a Boler shouldn't over stress them. We've used a Chev Cavalier and a Pontiac Vibe 2.4 (Toyota Matrix) and have camped often in the Rockies and have not had any concerns with the brakes. I highly recommend the Metro Trailer product. Somehow the trailer tows easier. I think the tongue might be a little longer, the frame is more rigid and the axle may be situated differently to be more efficient. I don't know for sure. The owners at Metro are passionate about quality and service. We've also installed new cushions that I picked up at the Scamp factory. You can't make your own for what they charge. We've replaced the 3 way fridge and the furnace as well.
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:28 PM   #27
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Name: Jakalin
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 4
Jim... thank you - that is exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for.
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:55 PM   #28
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2018, 21ft escape— 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 4,478
I would take the trailer to an auto body shop that specializes in frame staightening / realignment and repair . They can tell you if the frame is repairable or needs to be replaced . I had one of my trailer frames straightened , reinforcements added /welded in place and painted . Cost was under $500
Cheaper and simpler than removing the body and installing a new frame

PS ; The frame shop could also weld on axle brackets and you could replace the axle with one that has brakes . Probably less expensive and safer than buying a new tow vehicle IMHO
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:58 PM   #29
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Posts: 722
I boondock a lot in the foothills of the Rockies so I need a strong tug. My tug has a towing capacity 5 times the dry weight of my unit. Previously I used a tug with about half this capacity. I towed well but worked hard on steep inclines common on the back country gravel roads. The heavier tug didn't work nearly as hard and actually used LESS fuel so that was a no brainer.

My unit was made with electric brakes and I needed them with the lighter tug, the heavier tug not so much.

I would never tow without electric brakes on the trailer. While my tug has the capacity to stop my unit without trailer brakes it can still be unsafe in some situations. I recall some years back seeing a smaller trailer towed by a 5 ton truck. The trailer had electric brakes but the tug wasn't wired to use them. The tug slowed while descending a grade and the trailer jack-knifed. The trailer brakes may have kept this from happening. I've often wondered what would happen with a hard shut down on the highway in a similar situation.
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Old 01-24-2021, 01:08 PM   #30
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Posts: 722
I've done chassis work on both vehicles and trailers. In my experience, if a chassis is weak in one area it is likely weak in other areas as well. I would never try to repair a chassis unless I was confident there were no other weak areas.

I have no idea how much a new OEM chassis would cost or even if a replacement is available. A good welder can fabricate one fairly quickly if he has the original as a template. You can also build it stronger.
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:49 PM   #31
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Name: kenny
Trailer: 93 "Lil" Bigfoot 13.5'
Posts: 448
Following my friend down about a 20 degree inclined road. His brand new 16' Scamp started to fishtail. I saw the brake lights come on, and the fishtailing stopped. I have read advice on this site; " if fishtailing occurs use the brake control manual lever to only actuate the trailer brakes, not using the Tow brakes in unison." Like Mike suggests, I have seen a small trailer start to jackknife in a snow condition, it was a utility trailer with no brakes. There are factory brakes on our "Lil" Bigfoot.

Later Kenny
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Old 01-24-2021, 04:40 PM   #32
Name: David
Trailer: 1973 Boler 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 57
from an actual owner of 2006 Outback towing a Boler 1300

For the last 5 years, we have towed our 1974 Boler 1300 from Vancouver Island, across Canada and to California and back with a 4 cylinder 2006 Outback. Altogether, about 30,000 kms. The Outback is fine for the purpose, as long as you avoid overloading the car and trailer, and expect to climb steep mountain passes at reduced speeds. We repaired one frame crack and kept the original frame and added a new axle/brakes.

But I will still likely replace the frame one day. The oem frame is not very stout. Wiring the Subaru for brakes is not a simple job for the rookie. It involves removing the dashboard to tap the brake-light switch, installing breakers, and running wires from the battery to the back of the car. The videos at e-trailer are very helpful, so before tackling the job yourself, you can see what is in store. You will want a very compact brake controller because of the limited space under the dash.

Feel free to pm me if you need more suggestions. Good Luck!
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Old 01-24-2021, 07:44 PM   #33
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Posts: 722
I remember back in the day having to plumb the brake controller into the rear hydraulic brake line and then bleed the rear lines to remove the air.
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Old 02-01-2021, 12:57 AM   #34
Name: straykat
Trailer: 1980 Trillium 4500, 2004 Damon 34' Challenge Fiberglass motorhome,
Kalifornia, Michigan, any other place we stop.
Posts: 40
I would replace the frame as it has been compromised with the Canadian winter and road salt enviroment and they rust out from the inside out. When you replace the axle get 10 inch brakes not the 7 inch because if you need to replace any part of them on the road or even at home 10" are more common then 7" and the 7" are weak on stopping power when used in the mountains, they get hot to fast and fade.

We have a 4500 Trillium and had a 1300 trillium several years ago. Both had 10" and when tow with a 2002 S10 crew cab and the extra braking power in the rear gives you comfort on long grades. We had the axle on the 4500 replace about 5 years ago and had them set it to raise it up 3 inches for more ground clearance. The frame is rectangler tubing and the trailers home base in in the Mojve Desert but has traveled about 60,000 miles since we have owned it and was towed to Michigan and every state west of Ohio and hasn't seen any salt. When they put the new axle under it I told the to do a thorough inspection of the frame and that if it needed to be replace that I would have them do it. They called and said they couldn't find any problems and that the frame didn't need any repairs. The shop builds utility trailers and repair and modifies them as one of their job.
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Old 02-01-2021, 05:34 PM   #35
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
Posts: 1,890
I would build a brand new frame with modern running gear then swap the body over to the new frame. Dont build the frame like the old one with built in failure points. You will be happier in the long run if your truly in love with your little trailer. All these trailers were built to fit in to a price point not expecting to exist 30 years or so later. with the technology available in the builders minds these days you can build a much better product for not a whole lot more money.
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