Boler Frame Crack fix or replace? Looking for advice. - Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:30 PM   #1
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Name: Jakalin
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 4
Boler Frame Crack fix or replace? Looking for advice.

Hello,
I have a Boler (73?) which has already had the frame raised probably about 20-25 years ago. There is a crack in the frame. I am in the middle of getting it ready to be back on the road. I was towing with a Dodge Caravan but now have a 2007 Subaru Outback. So I have some related questions to the repair as I also want to add brakes to the axle.

I have a tow hitch on the car, but will need to add the trailer wiring. I will also be looking in to upgrading the jacks as I am not strong enough to pull the trailer by myself.

Questions:
1: Can I fix this crack AND add brakes? or
2: Do I need to get a whole new frame with different axle for brakes?

I understand there may be some bumps with adding a brake package to the Subaru, so if anyone has any experience with this part of the process, any experience with this would be helpful before I start looking for someone to help with the repair.
Attached Thumbnails
another view of crack looking toward front.jpg   crack 3.jpg  

crack one.jpg   crack underside.jpg  

axle looking toward back.jpg   left axle middle to back.jpg  

boler from side.jpg   subaru hitch.jpg  

boler from front tongue.jpg  
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:37 AM   #2
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Name: Don
Trailer: 1975 BIOD Extase
Alberta
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Keep in mind the life expectency for these frames was probably 25 years, outside. Whatever weakness caused that crack will probably be transferred to another part of the frame when that crack is fixed.
The value of these trailers keeps increasing.
In my opinion, it's probably a good time to get a new frame to keep this beauty on the road for another 50 years.
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:09 PM   #3
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Shouldn’t be any braking “bumps” with an ‘07 Outback. It’s the new ones that have some reported issues.
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:11 PM   #4
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Name: Mark
Trailer: 77 Beachcomber
Hilton Beach
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The crack can definately be weld repaired. The question is whether there are other places on the frame which have been compromised. I would want to rule out other having other weak spots on the frame. To do a thorough inspection and make repairs you would need to remove the body of the trailer from the frame. I would then do ultrasonic testing and dye penetrant testing to identify all areas needing repair. This might sound complicated but any good welding shop should be able to inspect and repair your frame.
Top it all off with a new paint job and you will be good to go for a lot of years and have peace of mind as well.
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:18 PM   #5
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Trailer: 93 "Lil" Bigfoot 13.5'
Utah
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you can buy a new axle with brakes. Dexter is a first place to look with 7 inch brakes; many have done this. Many have had frames reinforced to almost like new.
The receiver hitch added to the rear is not common; use it to carry bike rack or very lite tray. It can drag thru gutters. Perhaps why frame raised.
Standens axles in Calgary has replaced my Sister and Brother in law's Boler axle with brakes. It is said they fabricated the axles for the first Boler trailers.

Later Kenny
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Old 01-18-2021, 01:21 PM   #6
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Many frames are welded in place. by experienced welders
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:31 PM   #7
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Trailer: 13 ft Boler
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If that boler were mine I'd repair the crack and fish plate the area.
Takd a good ball peen hammer and wack the rest of the frame looking for weak/soft spots and deal with any.
I dont believe steel has a life span,,,
Fred
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:25 PM   #8
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Name: Jakalin
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
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thank you

Thank you everyone who replied. (hitch photo was on my Subaru not the boler).
It looks like I should take the boler in to a welder.. see if there are other weak parts of the frame - but that I have a good chance it can be repaired.

I like the idea of getting a new frame... did some initial research and that option looks complicated..ie.. the Boler is set off by 1 inch etc, but I am worried I might set off a whole other set of possible problems.
I don't have the know how to guide someone without lots of boler experience.
and.. would that I could do it myself.. but I can barely change a tire

A new axle sounds like a good idea.

Jakalin.
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Old 01-18-2021, 03:30 PM   #9
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
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I've replaced axles that didn't have brakes with ones that did. Not very difficult and I had a new axle as well. Good opportunity to increase axle capacity. Adding brakes to an existing axle depends in large part on getting the parts you need and having the expertise to install them. If they aren't installed properly they may fail and you don't want that to happen.
All trailer frames are welded when made, no concerns with that. A cracked frame indicates that the stresses in the area of the crack exceed to capacity of the frame to accommodate them. This could mean that a failure elsewhere has put excessive stress on the area around the crack. The unit may have been loaded excessively/pulled over rough terrain etc. which caused the damage. Often, especially with older units, corrosion may have weakened the metal.

I suggest having your unit inspected by someone who knows what they are doing. Ask the shop for an estimate of repair which is usually free and should include the inspection findings. There may be problems in other areas and your frame isn't worth/safe to repair. If you decide to repair hire a qualified welder to ensure you get a quality job.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:40 PM   #10
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+10 in person inspection. Realize a failure while on the road could result in serious accident and damage. Any doubt and I would lean towards replacement.
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Old 01-19-2021, 12:08 AM   #11
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I would suggest getting a new axle with breaks, it is so much safer to pull for you and others on the road. If you can't do it pay someone to get the axles.
As far as a new frame....that is a lot of work and only feasible if you have the money to pay someone to do the job or have the talents to do it yourself. It is not impossible to do this yourself but it will be a labor of love. I think these old fiberglass trailers are worth the time and expense, but then again I really like these old antiques!
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:55 PM   #12
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Name: David
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How much does the trailer weigh when loaded? Most people pull trailers that weigh too much for the tow vehicle. I would spend my money on a better tow vehicle than spend the money adding electric brakes. A more serious tow vehicle will be able to pull and stop the trailer.
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Old 01-23-2021, 07:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Prast View Post
How much does the trailer weigh when loaded? Most people pull trailers that weigh too much for the tow vehicle. I would spend my money on a better tow vehicle than spend the money adding electric brakes. A more serious tow vehicle will be able to pull and stop the trailer.

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.
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Old 01-23-2021, 07:57 PM   #14
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Name: Borden and Carole
Trailer: 1978 Earlton boler 1700 RGH
Ontario
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bolers are memories

We have a 17' boler and they are very light; at least ours is; under 2000 empty. Most of the wall area is only about 1/8" thick! Can be as much as 3/16th but even found a spot at 1/4' thick at roof line on ours. They did differ in weight due to layup variations.
The loaded weight is the real weight but a Subaru should have no problems pulling this little one.
Our original 78 frame is still solid; maybe give it a good look over first, as stated above a great idea. Frame replacement is an extensive fix so decide on it with some thought to what you are starting.
Is it a 13' ? some can even be under 1000 lbs at that size. One club member went to an aluminum frame to make it even lighter. bolers are worth the effort. If budget is a concern and you can do a new frame great idea. Can not over state how great having electric brakes is when needed. Make sure if a new axle is needed it can do breaks later. The 13' units had plywood floors and you may want to also check that area over as well.
Tires First item we purchased was new ST radial trailer tires as it had the wrong type and they were very old an cracked. The spare tire was a new car tire of correct size but wrong type so got a set of 3 ST radial tires.
These little beauties are a pleasure to pull; play safe and have fun.
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:12 PM   #15
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Name: David
Trailer: Trailite
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If the "law makers" didn't require trailer breaks when it was built...and the user is concerned about braking power, maybe the tow vehicle isn't up for the job. One could also make the argument that changing the original equipment to add brakes wouldn't be legal without proper inspection and certification for liability purposes if nothing else. Point being....while trailer brakes are nice, a strong tow vehicle is nicer. I pulled a 1,500 pound tent camper with no brakes and no problems with a decent tow vehicle. More is better.
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by David Prast View Post
If the "law makers" didn't require trailer breaks when it was built...

We used to ride in wagons pulled by horses...
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:28 PM   #17
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Name: Borden and Carole
Trailer: 1978 Earlton boler 1700 RGH
Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Prast View Post
If the "law makers" didn't require trailer breaks when it was built...and the user is concerned about braking power, maybe the tow vehicle isn't up for the job. One could also make the argument that changing the original equipment to add brakes wouldn't be legal without proper inspection and certification for liability purposes if nothing else. Point being....while trailer brakes are nice, a strong tow vehicle is nicer. I pulled a 1,500 pound tent camper with no brakes and no problems with a decent tow vehicle. More is better.
David is right, check the weight then decide if tow vehicle is up to the job. They have one state in US that requires brakes at 1000 lbs and in Ontario the law is if the trailer weighs over 3000 lbs or if it is 50 percent of the tow vehicle weight or more; trailer brakes are needed. Remember if it is a 13' you maybe under 1000 lbs and the older Subaru value was 2500 lbs. with a 8 percent recommended tongue weight. Still the California 1000 lbs and Ontario 50 percent rules.
You will want to travel and have fun.

P.S. our boler required a class two hitch, sway bar was recommended from factory, came with car tires and did not by law require electric brakes when built.
We use a class 3 hitch and upgraded to newer ST radial tires and added a breakaway switch that now is required by law in our area. If you add brakes it is easy to go to a trailer spot and have them added along with a battery and breakaway switch.

Electric brakes where not needed at its weight, but our friends we purchased it from wanted electric brake option at purchase. It was also sold from factory with a roll out awning we have the original option sheet along with option prices.
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:50 PM   #18
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
We used to ride in wagons pulled by horses...
Well said about adding brakes Glenn
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:51 PM   #19
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I assume this is a money question. Sure, trailer brakes are a nice feature especially if your tow vehicle is not robust. How much will it cost to add the brakes including the wiring necessary to the vehicle? If you can't do the work yourself. OR pay a shop...$1,0500 - $2,500. I am asking....not stating a fact. So one has to evaluate the cost against purchasing a more robust vehicle. Electric brakes on a 2.000 pound trailer is a nicety not a necessity. It is like remodeling your house....Will the cost of adding them to the trailer pay for itself in resale or will you keep it long enough to not care.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:04 PM   #20
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Subaru TV and 13' boler

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Prast View Post
I assume this is a money question. Sure, trailer brakes are a nice feature especially if your tow vehicle is not robust. How much will it cost to add the brakes including the wiring necessary to the vehicle? If you can't do the work yourself. OR pay a shop...$1,0500 - $2,500. I am asking....not stating a fact. So one has to evaluate the cost against purchasing a more robust vehicle. Electric brakes on a 2.000 pound trailer is a nicety not a necessity. It is like remodeling your house....Will the cost of adding them to the trailer pay for itself in resale or will you keep it long enough to not care.
Subaru TV and 13' boler; Subaru rated all with 2.5 boxer engine units until recently at 2500 lbs (except two units one is 2700 and the other is 3000 lbs) and a 13' would need to be loaded with 1500 lbs of food, etc to go over. Tires may put trailer at 2000 lbs max loaded or less anyway. Real concern is the cost to fix or replace the frame and personally . . . . would go for it.
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