Started digging in today, my first step was to remove all the weight I could from the rig. I took EVERYTHING out... if it wasn't nailed down, it came out. I bet I took 500 lbs of stuff out of there, made sure the tanks were empty, removed about 300 lbs of batteries, etc. I figured it would only help while trying to muscle this thing back onto the pallets, plus it needed a good emptying out and cleaning anyway. With some help from my brother, a friend, and a small tractor, we got the front end back on the pallets nice and square and safe.
Then started digging, I didn't want to de-skin the whole camper just yet, so I cut just the bad parts out, just to see what I'm working with here...
There are 2 vertical aluminum pieces that were bent/crunched/broken off. The rest of the frame actually looks pretty good (salvageable)
The 2 pics below are with the bent and broken piece shoved back in place, so you can see how the damage was done.
That's as far as I've gotten so far. If I had a way to weld new aluminum stock in there I would be golden. I know a place I can bring it to, to have it welded but I have no way to get it on the truck to transport it!
This is what I fear in mine. I have the same manual jacks. Where there any warning signs? I think my front jacks have metal behind the wood they sandwich with, and four other wood screws near that. None of which would have helped in your situation. Did you have it leaning really far? How'd you keep it from dropping all the way? Looks like the other front one is pretty tweeked too. So sorry.
BTW, asked my insurance agent about this happening. She told me that if it was to strike the ground, that's coverable, but it just falling apart isn't. Maybe make sure you have full coverage, and give her a nudge off those pallets. Sorry, not funny, just trying to cheer you up.
I don't have any kind of insurance on it. It wasn't leaning really far, maybe a few inches to that side as I was jacking the other side. As for warning signs, that jack may have been hit or bent before because it moved around more than I liked, I tried tightening the bolts but it didn't help. I guess if you gamble enough times you're bound to loose eventually right? The only reason it didn't go all the way over is because it came down on the pallets that were underneath it all winter. (That's why it is shifted to one side now)
Call it improper jacking, call it rotted wood and/or stressed aluminum, call it bad luck plus rushing, or call it all of the above. The bottom line is here's what I'm left with... :o
That corner has been wobbly since I bought the thing a few years ago, my own fault for not addressing the issue before it became a big one. I got it a little ways off the pallets and it folded over to one side. This was the first time jacking it up this season. I guess it actually could have been worse, the whole thing could have gone over... I'm still depressed though. I don't have thousands of dollars to put into this camper right now. I'm not against tackling some labor and or construction on my own, but I don't even know where to start.
My first thought was ok, well here's a good excuse to buy a stable-lift system, I always did like how those worked. Just take the stock jacks off, fix up that corner the best I can and install the stable lift... till I saw that a stable lift system is almost $3K. I'm not going to put a $3K lift system on a camper I paid $5K for 3 years ago. There's more rot in that thing other than the corner that failed.
oh what to do, what to do?
I've seen some of the sales literature for this model and I laugh at how they brag about the ALL ALUMINUM FRAME CONSTRUCTION, haha when the only aluminum I see is one piece through that corner no bigger than an aluminum hockey stick. The rest is all wood (which has been wet and soft for a while now)