Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

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downunder366
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Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby downunder366 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:29 pm

Have any of you come across frame cracks on a travel trailer? We have a 2015 28ft springdale trailer and I recently found two horizontal cracks above the rear axle spring hanger mount. The cracks are in the main frame beam.
We don't do much dirt/offroad travel.. So it seems pretty weird.

I will be contacting the dealer to get more info, but I just wanted to see if this is common and the repair process to fix it.
Was it just welded up or was it strengthened?

Cheers.
Ryan

16 KTM 350 XCF
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Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

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Brass
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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby Brass » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:53 pm

I have heard of a couple frames on Forest River bumper pulls ( I believe the frames were supplied by Lippert ) that cracked and they were repaired by the dealers. They simply weld the cracks and then weld an overlapping brace to spread the load in the area.

There are a few engineers around the forum here who can talk about loads, stress points, etc., etc., it comes down to the trailer frame being built to be as light as possible and as a result, the thin frame material isn't up to the task.

Inspect the rest of the frame very closely, there may be more cracks starting but are hidden by tanks, under skirting etc.. I seem to recall one Fun Finder RV that was cracked in several locations when the owner was picking up his new trailer up at the dealer.

Best of luck with it.
Last edited by Brass on Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
The voices are back. Awesome!

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RJHenry
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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby RJHenry » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:35 pm

downunder366 wrote:Have any of you come across frame cracks on a travel trailer? We have a 2015 28ft springdale trailer and I recently found two horizontal cracks above the rear axle spring hanger mount. The cracks are in the main frame beam.


Brass wrote:I have heard of a couple frames on Forest River bumper pulls ( I believe the frames were supplied by Lippert ) that cracked and they were repaired by the dealers. They simply weld the cracks and then weld an overlapping brace to spread the load in the area.


That happened on our bumper pull main frame rails right at the cross member attachment above the spring hanger mount locations. It was "repaired" just as Brass describes at the Lippert factory (to which we happened to be right next door) though they also added a box section across between the hangers to prevent lateral flex.

Brass wrote:There are a few engineers around the forum here who can talk about loads, stress points, etc., etc.

Guilty!

Brass wrote:it comes down to the trailer frame being built to be as light as possible and as a result, the thin frame material isn't up to the task.


We also ended up doing a major rebuild on the tongue after a 13,400 km trip. Custom cut and formed reinforcing plate, gouging and welding, etc. Never going to fail there again!

I am happy to help Ryan - call me!
RJH
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vwrally
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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby vwrally » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:14 pm

Add me to the frame cracks pile. Earlier this year I bought a used 2012 Forest River Rockwood. It is overall in great shape, though I knew it had a decent amount of highway miles on it since it was on the second set of tires, and the PO told me so, lol. After I bought it I noticed some cracks in the "frame" above the axles. It is an ultralight model, despite being 33 ft long and quad bunks in the rear it is only 5600 lbs dry. The "frame" on either side looks like an I beam, but the construction actually appears to be two 1/8" flat bars with thin (10 ish gauge?) sheet metal welded vertically between them. I don't think the vertical sheet metal is providing significant structure. Above the axles there are vertical support gussets that appear to spread the load between the upper and lower flat bars. I think there are 4 of them on each side above the axles. Along the rest of the frame there are angled gussets from the top flat bar extending down to about 3/4 of the way to the bottom flat bar, welded only to the thin vertical sheet metal. Extremely light weight design.

Anyhow, just in front of the leading axle on both sides, there is a crack in the middle of the vertical sheet metal, it looks like maybe there's some kind of lateral brace welded to the inside that is pulling away. Seems to have been there for a while as the crack are a bit rusty rather than fresh looking. Also, some of the vertical gusset welds almost look to have a bit a cracking, but it's hard to tell. I'm keeping an eye on them all for growth this season, but so far am not overly concerned. The previous owner also installed some extra stabilizing jacks in front of the axles, above them there are now some spider cracks extending out from the closest angled gusset, stress cracks from the point load of the stabilizers that weren't designed to be there I guess. Again, not overly concerned, anything that can crack that easily can't really be structurally critical.... As mentioned I'm keeping an eye on them, and may break out the mig welder at the end of the season and weld over the cracks, might add some re-enforcement as well. If I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have bought the trailer, but on the other hand, everything can be fixed, and sometimes you just need to jump in and start learning something new!

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RJHenry
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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby RJHenry » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:41 pm

vwrally wrote:Again, not overly concerned, anything that can crack that easily can't really be structurally critical....

I politely suggest a more conservative approach - these were not designed to last the number of cycles we subject them too... most RVs get used one or two weeks a year. The cracks appear where the stresses are greatest (and the strength is most needed).

My cracks were very similar - the web (vertical portion of I beam) is not intended to bear side to side forces, but it does transfer a lot of shear - which gIves the beam its bending strength. I would encourage you to get the cracks plated over and some stiffening to transfer lateral forces from axles to beams in a reliable load path.

My moment of truth came when I looked in the side mirror while turning and watched the tire edge move 1-1/2" in and out of the wheel well (at about 70kmh descending a windy mountain road).

It tows FAR better now that the frame has an appropriate level of stiffness!!!
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vwrally
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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby vwrally » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:09 pm

welding up the cracks and plating over them I understand, but not sure how I would add lateral stiffness, unless you mean actually adding a brace across the width of the trailer from one frame rail to the other, in front and behind the axles?

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RJHenry
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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby RJHenry » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:30 pm

The Lippert folks added a 2" HSS (Hollow Structural Section) between the spring hangers which prevents the hangers from "wagging" the frame rail flange (and cracking the web). It basically "boxes" the load path and strengthens and stiffens it immensely. A clever solution I thought.
Robert J Henry
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sbruton
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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby sbruton » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:41 am

Hi all,

Thanks for posting this up! I have a 2010 Rockwood Roo that I've owned since new and put a lot of km's on it every year... and not just on pavement. I'll be having a very close look at it this weekend to see if there are any signs of cracks before we start our holidays in the coming weeks.

I've never noticed any instability during towing, but will check to make sure.

Thanks again.
Shane

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downunder366
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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

Postby downunder366 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:22 am

Appreciate the info and help everyone.
Ryan

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Re: Travel Trailer Frame Cracks

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