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Old 08-17-2019, 09:45 PM   #1
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Hw277 front wall flex fix

Hi everyone. This is my first post, but I've read several posts about the Forest River HW277 Pop Up and the issue with the front wall flex causing the door opening to get out of shape. I've seen many attempts at repairing the issue and today I decided to get my own under control. I used a totally different method than what has been previously posted. It appears to have solved the problem and was about $30.00 for the hardware.

The problem, as I saw it was the geometry of the bed support rails. I weigh about 225 and my wife about 160. the king bed is rated for 1000 lbs. However, when you put weight on the bed, and it transfers to the support rail, the force is not only downward. Because of the angle of the lower rail, the force is placed downward and forward. The anchor point of the front wall is all that is holding it in place. The force pulls on the front wall, which is also attached to the shortest side wall that ends at the door opening./Users/kenwash/Desktop/HW 277 front wall fix/IMG_3770.jpeg

Another part of this weak design, is that the forward edge of the floor, which supports the front wall, extends beyond the frame by about 2 1/2 inches. The floor is press board and not very stable. The wall pulls forward and, in the case of my HW277, forces the floor downward. The end result is a trapezoid opening for the door frame, My door opening varied from approximately 1/4" at the bottom and about 3/4 of an inch at the top. The gap was so great we had to tape it to keep out insects.

The process I used adds a 3' wide, 3/16th thick steel plate under the front edge of the front wall. The plate is driven in between the frame and the floor until it is even with the front wall and extends from the outer right side to the tongue's frame where it meets the front frame section.

At the outermost left corner and in the center of the span, I placed corner support brackets. They were modified some and 5/16ths bolts, lock washers and nuts secure them to the frame rail. the flat steel and the corner brackets physically extend the frame to support the wall at it's weakest point, the right front corner.

This repair salone squared up the door frame. Unfortunately though, it does not reinforce the wall to keep it from moving under weight. A second process using turnbuckles solved this issue.

I purchased two 50" screen door support turnbuckles. I ran out of daylight, but I did get one installed and tested the movement and can report great success. The turnbuckle and rods are installed INSIDE the cabinet next to the door. I drilled two holes. One 1/4" hole in the floor at the farthest right corner, closest to the cabinet door and cosest to the door opening, and the second hole, 5/16' at a forward angle, through the shelf and shelf support bracket.

I inserted the top turnbuckle rod upward through the angled hole and attached the flat end to the inside upper right hand corner of the cabinet with two each, 3/4 long, pan head screws. Then screwed the turnbuckle nut onto the threaded end about 3/8ths of an inch. The bottom turnbuckle rod was fed up from the underside of the trailer and threaded about a quarter or 3/8ths inch into the turnbuckle nut. I marked the length where it exited under the floor. The rod has to be modified to work; shortened and a loop bent in it to allow it to be bolted to the frame rail. After making the bend and shortening it, I reinstalled it, drilled two holes in the frame under the floor and installed two automotive trim screws.

I adjusted the turn buckle tight, then closing the door, checked the opening. I made a couple adjustments and when the door opening measured square. I had my daughter measure the gap when I got in and on the king size bed. There was nearly unnoticeable movement. Maybe 1/16th of an inch.

I plan on adding a second turnbuckle on the other side of the inside of the cabinet. Same two holes, same turnbuckle assembly and modification, but I will add a plate under the floor to attach the lower turnbuckle rod as I do not trust the floor at all to alone hold the stress of the tension. It just so happens that the inside if the cabinet is nearly adjacent to the bed support rod anchor point. I'm pretty sure this will illuminate any movement in the front wall. The best part is it is all hidden inside the cabinet, and it can be adjusted as the materials change with age.

NOTE: I tried to add photos but for some reason could not. I will try to add them as an update to this post.
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Old 08-17-2019, 09:55 PM   #2
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Photos for hw 277 front wall flex fix

Here are some photos showing the bracket described in the initial post.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:04 PM   #3
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More photos for hw277 front wall flex fix

These photos show the finished installed corner bracket and support and the turnbuckle installation and final measurements.
I still have to add one more front corner bracket under the front wall and the other turnbuckle.
I'll follow up with that tomorrow if I get the opportunity.

Ken
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:17 PM   #4
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Very nice job. Its a shame the factory didn't do it this way First. That may even help with seals leaking after a while.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:22 PM   #5
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Thanks.
Yes, I agree. This was a poor design to begin with.
I find I am reengineering issues each time I "upgrade." This one is new to us this year. Had a coleman previously with the foam top. Terrible design. This seems much better, but I constantly see things that make me go hmmmm.

Ken
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Old 08-18-2019, 03:30 PM   #6
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Hw277 front wall flex fix FOLLOW UP AND FINAL PRODUCT

This morning I added the second support angle bracket between the frame and the tongue to help support the 3" wide, 3/16th inch steel front edge support of the forward wall.
After that I sealed along the front edge and side, then painted it all.

Last task was installing the second turnbuckle inside the cabinet on the inner wall side. Like the outer wall side, i drilled a 3/8" hole at an angle matching an invisible line from the bottom rear corner of the cabinet to the top forward corner. I bent the connecting flange to match the front wall, making sure NOT to bend it on the flat flange. You MUST make all bends on the round bar steel. I used a 3/8 box end wrench to make the bends by sliding it over the rod and bending it. Ieyed it up and that was good enough for the top rod.

The bottom rod was a bit more tricky as it anchors in the underside of the floor. I made a support plate to keep the tension from pulling against the press board. We all know how cheep and unstable that stuff can be. The brace was about 2" by 3" long. I offset the center hole to accommodate the rod length to anchor with two bolts. At each corner I drilled holes and countersunk the openings using my drill press.
Once that was done I installed it over the turnbuckle rod and marked the bend point on the rod, took the rod out, bent the loop in it and reinstalled it.
I marked the plate for two holes, removed the plate, drilled the holes and tapped them to accommodate some 6mm x 1.0 bolts I have left over from a vehicle accident rebuild. To do this work I boded the plate onto a piece of scrap wood.

I reinstalled the bracket, installed the lower rod through the bracket and cabinet hole and started it into the turnbuckle, adjusting it until I could install the two bolts. Once secure I adjusted the turn buckle tight and checked for front wall movement. according to my wife, it had about a 16th of an inch of movement.

The important thing is that it returned to a square position for the door frame and it gives me the piece of mind that it is not going anywhere now.

I'll add the pictures in reply in order of the process.
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Old 08-18-2019, 03:34 PM   #7
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Hw277 front wall flex fix FOLLOW UP AND FINAL PRODUCT Cont

The final photos of the process.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:48 PM   #8
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Damned impressive...a first class job!
Bookmarking this fix...it's in my future.
Thank you.

PS. Any guy with a drill press is in the major leagues.
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Old 08-18-2019, 07:54 PM   #9
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Gee, if your major league with a drill press, what are you if you have a plasma cutter and mig welder along with the drill press and air compressor and air tools?
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:29 PM   #10
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Gee, if your major league with a drill press, what are you if you have a plasma cutter and mig welder along with the drill press and air compressor and air tools?
Outta my league. I had a farm for about 20 years, and I had all that stuff then. Today, I have an 8' x 10' storage shed, so those days are history.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:30 PM   #11
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Gee, if your major league with a drill press, what are you if you have a plasma cutter and mig welder along with the drill press and air compressor and air tools?
...and it's not nice to brag.
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:07 PM   #12
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Thanks, but...

So the reality is, I don't even have a garage. I work in my driveway and all my toos are in the basement. LOL. Garage is planned though, cause retirement is right around the corner.
However, I've been an automotive technician since 1982.
The point was to show that the repair could be done by a novice with a few tools and a little hardware. The drill press is a table top cheapie that happened to be handy after cutting the plate steel.
The fix is what is important. It was cheap and I hope I captured enough of the process to help others who have the same issue.

Ken
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:26 PM   #13
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Great post thank you. Was trying to figure it out myself on my hw277. Next weekend project.
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:41 AM   #14
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Outta my league. I had a farm for about 20 years, and I had all that stuff then. Today, I have an 8' x 10' storage shed, so those days are history.

My neighbors won't let me do that since I have all the toys!
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:23 AM   #15
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Gee, if your major league with a drill press, what are you if you have a plasma cutter and mig welder along with the drill press and air compressor and air tools?
A car nut 👍👍. Mig tig. Plasma cutter. . Bead roller x2. Sheet metal break. Too many tool boxes and enough tools to stock a Snap-on truck.
Good to have if you need it.
No such thing as too many tools!!
Enjoy. 🙀
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:14 PM   #16
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That particle board is not the best to hold screws so keep an eye on them. Also I would put a coating on that bare wood.
Looks like you did a good job. Congratulations
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:43 PM   #17
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Front wall fle update

So, after two more camping trips, the repair appears to be holding fast. No change in the front wall. No adjustment made, and the door falls into place and seals all around. Woohoo. Winning!
As for coating the underside of the trailer. Other than clear coating it, Camping World specifically cited the warranty info for HW pop-ups and said NOT to coat it, at least, not with rubberized or dark , non-see-through materials, such as undercoating.

The reason, I'm being told, is if there is a leak in the roof or plumbing above the underside of the floor, the water accumulates and can't drain.

Sealing it, according to the CW tech, makes it worse because it holds the water in.

What I plan is to apply aluminum sheets where I can, which will allow drainage, but prevent road splash damage. next process when I get the opportunity.

Otherwise, the repair seems to be working as intentioned.

Ken.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:00 PM   #18
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So, after two more camping trips, the repair appears to be holding fast. No change in the front wall. No adjustment made, and the door falls into place and seals all around. Woohoo. Winning!
As for coating the underside of the trailer. Other than clear coating it, Camping World specifically cited the warranty info for HW pop-ups and said NOT to coat it, at least, not with rubberized or dark , non-see-through materials, such as undercoating.

The reason, I'm being told, is if there is a leak in the roof or plumbing above the underside of the floor, the water accumulates and can't drain.

Sealing it, according to the CW tech, makes it worse because it holds the water in.

What I plan is to apply aluminum sheets where I can, which will allow drainage, but prevent road splash damage. next process when I get the opportunity.

Otherwise, the repair seems to be working as intentioned.

Ken.
What kinda Bull Carp was he telling you ? Look under every trailer made today and the underside if wrapped in a black plastic. Maybe popups and A's are different, but seems like all that exposure would tear it up.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:02 PM   #19
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I agree. But there are many posts for pop-ups where the damage to the floor came from the top side. It has some sort of clear coating from the factory. I just don't find it sufficient in the leading and tail edge of the floor underside.

Ken
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:30 PM   #20
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I agree. But there are many posts for pop-ups where the damage to the floor came from the top side. It has some sort of clear coating from the factory. I just don't find it sufficient in the leading and tail edge of the floor underside.

Ken
And when you think about it, that's where most leaks on TT begin, on the top side and then destroys the floor. I'd still be adding some kind of coating on there just like you were thinking, or protection around wheels like you said.
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