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Old 07-22-2012, 11:48 PM   #1
TrailerTraveler
 
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frame bending on long trailer

Anybody here know if its common for longer trailers (30+ ft) to bend their frames?

I've got a 2007 model regular pull trailer that is 33 ft long and has bent its frame. The bend is just behind the rear axle and drops about 1" in 3 ft. I've got about 20K miles on it, all on paved roads. I have been bounced pretty good by some of the roads in the northeast once or twice but otherwise nothing unusual. It is loaded to its rated max but no more.

I'm going to buy a replacement unit and I'm trying to decide whether to go with something shorter, maybe 27 ft, or stay with a longer trailer because I like the inside roominess.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:42 AM   #2
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I need to ask.

What is stored on your rear bumper?
Do you keep bikes back there?
Are there storage areas in the very rear?
Are heavier items stored there?
When was the camper weighed?
Was it over weight?

Ultra-lite frames flex as designed, however they can bend and eventually break from excessive and/or prolonged flexing; just like a paper clip.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:35 AM   #3
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I had 34' tt with no issues.
2006 flagstaff had it 6 years.

Also to get more help with your specific unit you might want to specify your make and model.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:58 AM   #4
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Hi Herk and Turbo
The trailer is a Rockwood 8315 ultralite. I carry a 30lb bicycle and a trailer spare tire on the back bumper. The rear pass thru storage is where I keep four plastic tubs with miscellaneous hoses, cables, filters, cleaning supplies and a small BBQ.

The last time I weighted the trailer it was 170lbs over weight on the rear axle and 290lbs light on for the front axle. I dropped the hitch height down a notch to bring the front of the trailer down and moved the bike and spare tire into the truck. The damage may have been done by then but 170 lbs doesn't seem like enough to cause this bend.

The rest of the weight data:
Trailer GVWR - 7920lbs, GAWR - 3500lbs (F & R).
Data from weight-in: F axle-3210lbs, B axle-3670lbs, hitch-1280lbs (it has a front kitchen), total-8160lbs (240lbs over).

Turbo,
It's good to hear your 34' did fine for so long. How much did you drive it in that time. Maybe I put too many miles on mine.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:28 PM   #5
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We stay pretty much stay local but I dare say that some county roads in Iowa are in bad shape!
Were out about every weekend from July 1st till September then a couple weekends out of the month till it gets cold.
When bikes on a rack on the rear of a travel trailer get bouncing you have a tremendous force bouncing up and down on your bumper.
You need to multiply that weight at the very least by two!
I once had bikes on the back of mine and the first trip I had 3 holes in the back of my camper from a harlequin bar.
When measured from handle bar to camper at rest they were 22 inches away if that give you any idea how much they move.
One way to tell.,..........
If your loosing end caps in your bumper.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:48 PM   #6
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Re: Herk's question about heavy things in the tail of the trailer.

The 30 gal fresh water tank is also back there. I usually have about 5 gal in it but have driven with it full 4-5 times when I expected to dry camp in a state park or Wally world.
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:04 PM   #7
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That's a lot of camping Turbo, and some big time bouncing. The leverage of the bike weight would be significant with that kind of banging around. I know the bumps we hit on several of the two lane roads in the NE were down right violent. The kind of thing where you get out and walk around the rig to make sure all the pieces and parts are still attached. So my bike back there could be a bigger factor than I was thinking it was.

I have not lost a bumper end cap yet but it makes sense that significant/damaging bouncing would cause that. Good tip, thanks.
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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no problem . I hope its nothing to serious.
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailerTraveler
Anybody here know if its common for longer trailers (30+ ft) to bend their frames?

I've got a 2007 model regular pull trailer that is 33 ft long and has bent its frame. The bend is just behind the rear axle and drops about 1" in 3 ft. I've got about 20K miles on it, all on paved roads. I have been bounced pretty good by some of the roads in the northeast once or twice but otherwise nothing unusual. It is loaded to its rated max but no more.

I'm going to buy a replacement unit and I'm trying to decide whether to go with something shorter, maybe 27 ft, or stay with a longer trailer because I like the inside roominess.
Wondering, have you checked into a frame shop? If not to repair the bend, just maybe reinforce the area and move the stressed site with brackets. Appears it wan't so much the load on the axle was the problem appears the weight behind the axle acting as weighted lever. Not common but easy to fix.
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Old 07-23-2012, 05:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinceU View Post
Wondering, have you checked into a frame shop? If not to repair the bend, just maybe reinforce the area and move the stressed site with brackets. Appears it wan't so much the load on the axle was the problem appears the weight behind the axle acting as weighted lever. Not common but easy to fix.
A frame shop would be my next stop. They have the tools to straighten your frame and beef up the now weak parts (from having been bent).

The bike is a killer; put a load at a significant distance from the rear axle and you have the lever arm from hell.

30 pounds of bike and mount might not seem like much but add the spare tire and bounce it up and down across 10 or 12 feet of thin metal welded into a frame and you get a tremendous amount of bending force at the axle attachments. Ultra-lite frames are not extruded I beams, they are welded up from strap steel.

Have your DW drive over that road while you follow behind in the car (at a safe distance) and watch that bumper, tire and bike rack. Be in for a shock.
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