Camper suspensions aren't what they used to be.

Discussion in 'Tow & Trailer' started by Vombrown, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. Vombrown

    Vombrown Mountain Man Premium Member

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    so a long story short. A good friend of mine bought property directly behind me on the mountain. He bought a 2009 travel trailer with a toy box. He borrowed my dodge truck to tow it back from Washington 12 hours away. He made it about 2 hours on the way home and a stiff wind pushed the trailer sideways and he saw smoke coming from the tires. Got out and looked at it and it appears the leaf spring hangers shifted to the left to the extent of bending them to set the entire trailer onto the tires.
    He sent pics of it to me looking for some advice and since he isn't a mechanic or welder/fabricator he didn't know what to do. He chocked it up with wood blocks (my old field fix) and made it to a friends farm. It looks to me as if the I beam suspension of the trailer has a piece of 1/8" square tubing welded to the bottom of it and the leaf spring hangars are welded to those. Very flimsy looking. I am gathering tools now to leave for Washington to see if I can get it repaired for him. I don't think it will be a huge job but I don't honestly know. He sent pics but I can't get them to download to post here.

    Have any of you guys ran into something like this?
     
  2. Vombrown

    Vombrown Mountain Man Premium Member

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    He is in the area of mount Vernon Washington. If any of you guys would like to lend a hand it would be much appreciated. He doesn't have many skills and I will be working alone with his limited help to get it back on the road. I'm leaving in the morning on a 12 hour trip to get my buddy out of a jam.
     
  3. Bent77

    Bent77 Desert Solitaire Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Haven't seen this, but I'd like pictures
     
  4. ktmoutfront

    ktmoutfront Stuck going nowhere fast Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Repaired a couple like that. Cross braces were added before I was done. For some reason, the engineers don't account for cross winds. Seems like an obvious engineering concern.
     
  5. Vombrown

    Vombrown Mountain Man Premium Member

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    So I just got back from this trip. Rebuilt two spring hangars with cross bracing and it looked really good. Test drive went well with everything working as it should. Took a short trip farther south with it on the interstate and my buddy who owns the trailer shot video of it tracking down the road for me to see. Appears the I beam frame is split. It is moving on the frame. Nothing I could do about it.
     
  6. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Any update on the frame issue?
     
  7. Vombrown

    Vombrown Mountain Man Premium Member

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    After our failed attempt to get it road worthy again, My buddy decided to go after the camper retailer for a refund on the purchase. At the very least repair or replacement of his unit. They are in the process of mediating a refund plus expenses now. Turns out his "As is" sales warranty from the LARGE retailer he purchased it from does not include UNSAFE TO TRANSPORT. According to the AG of Washington state who was really, REALLY interested in his case. His initial contact with the company was essentially blown off. He then contacted a local official who recommended contacting the AG. That went straight to the top as apparently there are more than one claim like this on the books for this particular retailer. Since there are a few associated criminal charges connected to his instance, there was no shortage of interest. I think he will come out to the good in this endeavor. Shout reach a resolution this week I think.
     
  8. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah, that sounded like way more than normal "wear and tear".
     
  9. Vombrown

    Vombrown Mountain Man Premium Member

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    When I was there repairing the spring hangars, we documented a significant amount of rust on all the frame brackets. There were also several spots where the frame was rusted through. We documented cracks laterally in the I beam of the frame as well. I didn't realize how bad it was until the last test drive we did. The body of the camper had separated from the frame in a couple of spots. More worrisome was the small crack that I noted had opened up to about 26" in a 30 mile test drive. No signs of stopping, the frame actually ripped at the bottom edge and upon inspection was much more severely rusted than I had thought. I made the call to stop the repairs as I felt like there wasn't anything I could do short of replacing the frame to stop it. Certainly unsafe to move or travel with. Everytime we moved the thing something else would come loose or crack. My welds and fab work held strong...LOL

    Keep in mind all of this was 10 days after purchase of the trailer. He purchased it, got his truck setup (my truck) to tow it back and on the first attempt the suspension collapsed. That was what I initially went to repair for him. Didn't end up being something I could fix without essentially rebuilding the frame.
     

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