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Old 03-11-2018, 08:39 PM   #1
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"Newbie" with possible structural issue.

Hello to all,

At the onset, I would like to say "thank you" to all those who answer questions from folks like me. I used to be an Admin on an unrealted site, and I appreciate the effort.......

I just bought a 2011 30 foot Forest River 5th wheel. While climbing underneath the unit to route my water line, I bumped into a piece of angle iron bracing that connects two long angle iron braces that run the width of the unit about midway and about five feet apart, and discovered it wasnt welded on both ends. I check two more pieces and both of those were not welded either.

I cannot imagine why these pieces were only welded on one end. If this indeed an oversight, the unit made it out of the manufacturers "quality control" and the dealer that I bought it from didn't catch ot either. Is there any reason that three pieces of angle bracing under the unit would only be welded on one end?

Thanks.
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:14 PM   #2
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Having trouble visualizing your situation. Any way you could take a picture and post for us to see?
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:40 PM   #3
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That definitely needs to be investigated and understood, it does not sound right. If I understand you think these are support brackets. If that is true common sense says they need to be welded or bolted.

When it comes to RV's I can believe anything. There is a high level of incompetence running rapid in the industry. From top down most RV manufacturers are running a shabby operation.

My 1st thought for a fix is somehow have the pieces welded as needed.

2nd thought if welding is not an option maybe drill holes and bolt the pieces together.

That is after you understand more. Can you look at your exact trailer make and model somewhere else and check how it is built?
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:36 PM   #4
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Have they never been welded on one end, or has the weld broken.

Sounds like they might be intended as floor joists meant to support the floor so it doesn't get spongy.
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:08 PM   #5
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Sorry, but I am at work and cannot post pics. I am a travelling worker with limited internet access.

Let me see if I can explain better. I was laying on the ground under the unit looking toward the hitch. Just a foot or so in front of the front axle. Right above my head is a piece of angle iron that runs from one side of the frame to the other (parallel to the axle). About three feet away is another piece that does the same thing. In between these two pieces are three short pieces of angle that are laying inside the flats of the two long pieces. Each of these pieces is only welded on one end. I first thought that the welds may have broken, but there is no weld material at all. With the unit going down the road, these three pieces are just going to bounce up and down on the unwelded end. Since these pieces rest in the flats of the long pieces, they cant fall out, but I can see no reason that they would have been left unattcahed on one end.
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Old 03-12-2018, 04:56 AM   #6
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I had the belly pan (corrugated plastic) out from under my 5er this past summer to replace the belly pan after years of use... it sort of fluttered in the wind and wore out..

I also found 3 of the cross members broken.... I assume from the flex of the I-beams especially when backing up into tight spaces... I was amazed at how cheep with two pieces of formed 14 gauge metal with 1/4 rod welded into a truss... I installed 2"x2"x1/8" angle and 3/8" rod to both strengthen and replace what was there that had broken welds and was bent...

At the same time I found that if I measured inside the I-beam across the width of the RV down the length that this dimension varied almost 2"... we added a strengthening piece of metal to both straighten out the I-Beam and prevent it from happening again... I made a fixture and used a 20 ton hydraulic jack to push the I-beam straight again...

We removed the old insulation and replaced it with 6" and than added a 1" Styrofoam panel to hold that up in place... installed some extra cross bracing to hold both the Styrofoam in place and to attach the new belly pan...

All in all I don't think I spent more than $500 on materials... but what I thought was going to be a simple project turned into almost 7 full days of work... and I'm guessing if I'd had taken it to a dealer it would have thousands of dollars... but I know my work is good, better than OE... my welds are solid and hopefully when were out where its in the teens at night the floor stays warmer...
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Old 03-13-2018, 02:11 AM   #7
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Thanks for the responses. These brackets are very thin guage and are likely not for structural support. I am beginning to wonder if they are not braces for an additional tank that was not installed on my unit. My control panel does have a level indicating light for a second tank that I dont have. These braces are more in line for some type of use like that.
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vetplus40 View Post
Thanks for the responses. These brackets are very thin guage and are likely not for structural support. I am beginning to wonder if they are not braces for an additional tank that was not installed on my unit. My control panel does have a level indicating light for a second tank that I dont have. These braces are more in line for some type of use like that.
That would make sense.
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Old 03-13-2018, 05:21 PM   #9
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I would guess that these are support braces for your tanks as that would be the general location of them.
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Old 03-14-2018, 04:28 AM   #10
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I am curious if one end of each brace was left unwelded intentionally. I may go ahead and secure them just to keep them from flopping around.
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Old 03-14-2018, 06:57 AM   #11
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I agree with the theory about future use. Bracing parts welded on one side only could allow easy removal if needed. I'm guessing the weld is on one surface only , although now secure, if the base was bent the weld would snap and be removed easily. MHO

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Old 03-14-2018, 11:51 AM   #12
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Another case where a picture would make short work of this and eliminate the guessing. We should all learn to post pictures to make it easier to get help when you really need an answer quickly.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by clifford j View Post
I agree with the theory about future use. Bracing parts welded on one side only could allow easy removal if needed. I'm guessing the weld is on one surface only , although now secure, if the base was bent the weld would snap and be removed easily. MHO

CLIFFORD
I am wondering if I was working at the factory, and the frame came from a supplier, if the additional tanks was installed, would the braces be then welded with the tank in place? As a former welder, I am just curious if welding around the plastic tank would be an issue from a spatter standpoint.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:35 AM   #14
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Another case where a picture would make short work of this and eliminate the guessing. We should all learn to post pictures to make it easier to get help when you really need an answer quickly.
I agree 1000%. The problem is that I am "on the road" out of state, and bought this unit in a nearby state and had it delivered to a local campsite. Currently, I only have computer access at a secure government site. Due to cyber security protocols, I cannot upload pics of any kind.
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