It doesn’t matter where it is or how small, there will be an accident from time to time. Whether they are inside your RV or when you are on the road, accidents will happen. The worst accident you could have would be one that breaks your travel trailer frame.
The first thing you need to do is find out where the break is and how serious it is. The second thing you should do is call a welder. A welder can easily repair most breaks as long as the break is reparable. If you are on the road, you may have to call a tow truck to help you out.
To learn more about this problem and how to fix it, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about when you are caught in this predicament. Take a few moments to see how this information can help you and get you back on the road again.
Usually, travel trailer frames are quite sturdy. But with time, travel, bumpy roads, and the elements, they can wear down and soon you may have cracks or a break in the frame. These may be more common than is reported as not everyone that has a broken frame is involved in an accident.
In a list of common travel trailer problems, a broken frame does not even come close to being listed or even close to the honorable mention category. You would have other common problems like roof damage, tire failure, plumbing issues, and weight and balance issues to mention only a few.
Some people list backing up or coupling the tow vehicle to the trailer as a more common problem and not even think about a broken frame. This problem does take place. The good news is that most breaks or cracks can be repaired quite quickly.
All it takes is a skilled welder and the frame is as good as new. They say that welding steel together makes the metal stronger than when it was in one complete piece. That should give you a little peace of mind when you are facing this issue.
In some cases, you do not have to look very hard or far to see that you have a bent frame. If you are in an accident, it should be pretty visible that the frame is bent and that is because you have a bent floor at the same point.
This happened to one owner right behind the wheel but before his rear door. Insurance should cover the problem but what happens in many cases is that the insurance company declares it non-repairable and totals out the trailer.
Other times, you have to search long and hard to find the crack or the break. Doing regular checks of the frame is essential especially when you travel down some very rough roads is vital.
This makes sure that you have no surprises when you are away from home. In this case, a good welder can have the crack or break fixed the same day. That makes it very convenient when you are on the road and not sure how you will get home.
If a welder isn’t handy, you should contact a good frame shop. They should be able to straighten out the problem for you.
There are not too many options you have at your disposal if you are not an expert welder. The first has been mentioned a couple of times already and that is to contact a good welder. But this option only works if the frame is cracked or broken. It doesn’t help much if the frame is bent but still in one piece.
The second option is to contact a frame shop that has experience in these heavy-duty travel trailer frames. They should have the right solution because they have the experience and expertise in these situations.
An auto body shop does work with frames but they may not have experience in the heavier duty frames placed on travel trailers. You would have to talk to them to see what they can do for you or if they are even willing to try.
If you suspect a bent frame you should look for some of the more common signs. Components may not fit together very well, the wheel alignment is off and you have unusual wear on your suspension and shocks.
Not all bends are easy to spot as the bend or break can come at any point depending on where the stress force was focused.
This will depend on your insurance company and its policies. In some cases, that should not be a problem. The crack, break, or bend is not so severe that it will not cost a lot to fix the problem. Your insurance agent should be able to advise you on this issue.
However, there will be cases where the cost to repair the frame exceeds the salvage value and that index will have the insurance company totally the trailer. When it is too expensive to fix, the insurance company won’t pay for the repair.
They will just pay out what your insurance coverage calls for and send the trailer off to the junkyard. Again, your insurance agent will have to explain all the details to you. Different insurance companies have different rules and different criteria to make the determination.
There will be times when they will let a frame shop or welder sister in a piece of new frame making the trailer usable again. However, it all boils down to cost it is all about the money involved and not whether the trailer is still useful or not.
Believe it or not, it doesn’t take much damage for the insurance companies to total the trailer or vehicle. They will find an excuse to do it even if you think you can have it fixed.
When it happens to you, hope that your trailer is still under warranty. That way the maker of the trailer will bear the brunt of the repair costs and not you. There are several ways for the frame to break and often it is due to shoddy craftsmanship at the manufacturer.
Sometimes it may be a hassle to get the manufacturer to repair the damage but some companies will stand behind their product and fix the errors at no cost to you. So the first step in this process is to contact the manufacturer of the trailer or the frame.
Talk to them and see what they will or will not do. You may have to somehow drive the trailer to their main location to get them to look at it but the trip may be worth it. If the manufacturer won’t fix it or it is not under warranty, your best bet is to get an experienced frame mechanic to look at the problem.
There will be different fixes for different types of damage. One is welding the cracks together so they do not cause even more damage. If it is a break and it is not too severe or the pieces are not bent, welding may be your only option. or you can have the frame shop sister in a frame piece to shoulder the weight.
We cannot be any more specific than that simply because the experience frame mechanics or welders have to see the damage and decide what can be done. Their experience and knowledge will be the best guide you can have at this time.
According to Jayco, there are different alloys and metals used to make the frames for their different classes of trailers. For example, their lightweight trailers get a low alloy steel product that reduces weight but does not reduce any of the strength.
For their travel trailers, Jayco uses structural steel that is molded into one piece. Their 5th wheel trailers seem to use the same structural steel as the travel trailer but with different innovations to make them more solid.
Other companies may use aluminum as their frame material and heartland is one such company. Airstream is another and that is to be expected. Aluma lite and Livin lite are two more trailer brands that use an all-aluminum frame.
Other RV makers use aluminum for their frames. The best thing to do is pick the trailer you are interested in contact the company and ask them. Sometimes the frame material is listed in the specs in the brochures or on the different web pages of the different companies.
Yes, you can weld on a travel trailer frame. That is one of the best ways to get the frame fixed and back to being road-worthy. Even if the frame is broken, it is still possible to weld it back together and use the trailer for many more years.
This goes for aluminum frames as well. A good welder will know how to fix those cracks or breaks on an aluminum frame. The key is to make sure they will do it for the right price.
There will be times when the trailer manufacturer will not weld the parts back together. They have their reasons why they won’t do it. But that refusal should not stop you from getting the crack or break fixed.
The drawback is the integrity of the metal. Sometimes you can fix on crack but a year later the same metal piece will break or crack again. Not at the new weld but somewhere close by. it all depends on the metal frame that is cracked or broken.
This is why you need to talk to an experienced welder or a good frame shop. They have the knowledge that will help you make the right decision when it comes to this type of repair.
This will depend on how severe the bend is. If it is a slight bend in the frame it should easily be fixed by a frame machine. Some body shops have these as would a good frame shop. Those machines can take out certain bends but not all of them.
There is a crude way of handling the bend if the bend is in the right location and not severe. Place the tongue of your trailer between the fork of a tree that is low to the ground. Then hook up your tow vehicle on the other end and pull the trailer till the bend is gone.
Make sure to use a strong chain when securing the trailer to the tree. But the best way to fix a bend in the frame is to leave it to the experts. They can tell you if the bend is fixable or not.
The last people you want to talk to is your insurance company as they will write off your trailer faster than you can blink. They are not always willing to spend money on a repair. Just keep in mind that not all bends are fixable.
There will be times that you will find a crack in your frame. This can happen over time, with rough roads, and so on. The best way to fix a crack is to weld it. If you are an experienced welder then it should take you less than a day to repair depending on the crack and its location.
If you are not an experienced welder, take it to someone who is or go to a frame shop to have them handle the repair.