That is definatly better than most, although still far from ideal. Theres still no way an Ibeam should be used, especially in that length. a 30ft +/- Ibeam literally becomes like a piece of spaghetti and being severely dynamically loaded the weak flanges/web are able to twist and flex as the origional post has stated. Its a domino effect, once you start flexing/twisting, the horrid welds from the factory eventually fail. or you have the terribly thin material either cause cracking or full out tearing. I have close family friends with a 2012 cougar 30ft, lippert ibeam frame, the rear bumper ripped off and smashed the spare tire through the back of the camper, AND on the same trip, the structure that holds the pinbox completely failed at the welds and crushed there brand new trucks box. When i diagnoised/fixed the pin box for them as they didnt trust the dealer, the structure thats aparently rated to support 16,000lbs according to the sticker on the pinbox was made out of 2"x2"x less than 1/8" thick, and the welds were so bad i took pictures and sent them to Lippert asking how they could sleep at night putting out that quality! I promise i dont mean to sound arrogant, but i wish i could have some of you fellas/ladies in the shop to show you just what i mean.
being a certified high pressure welder, i look at some of these frames on 40,000 to 100,000$ campers, at camper shows and just about throw up when i see what there sitting on. When i inquire with the salesmen about the horribly inadequate frame he reassures me that its an incredibly strong frame until i tell him i am a welder by trade and he quickly changes the subject or laughs it off. Its unfortunate but now a days i have yet to see a single camper frame made from box structural tubing. Rather these flimsy 10" x 1/8" thick web ibeam frames with welds that look like they've been done by my siberian husky.
Until we find another camper that actually comes out with a quality built frame will keep our triple E topaz luxury touring edition. Canadian made quality, 10" x 2" x 3/16" structural rectangular tubing, with 2"x2"x1/8" crossmembers, a heavier camper yes, but in my opinion if your into the bigger units then you have to pay to play buy the bigger trucks. This "half ton towable"******is a bunch of BS, basically what there saying is, we've comprimised the structural integrity of this camper so you can still just barely pull it with your half ton, now give me 40G. I can tell when i pull our Topaz that its a strong frame because she dosent flex or creek when going over bumps or backing up into a camping spot. Structural tubing has far more torsional stability, the only way to be equivilent would require atleast 10" x 1/4" thick web'd ibeam. Again being a welder by trade, the current state of these new campers is appauling. People look at me funny at camper shows when i crawl underneath first rather than walking in the door to see the cool interiors...
i am a high pressure pipe welder and fabricate all my own hitches for our fifth wheels that we own. But be very careful! there are alot of "self proclaimed" "professional" welders out there who should never strike an arc. Generally you dont back up when you have both units hooked up but i have done it before, its really not that difficult you just have to know when and where to steer to get your boat going the right way. One question i do have, that some of you also may have encountered, with our new particular setup, over rougher roads we have quite a bit of boat sway, nice flat highways we generally dont have an issue. Also we keep it at or slightly below 95km/h We have pleanty of tounge weight i believe, i am thinking about moving the boat slightly forward to put more weight over the tandem axles. Any insight would be great.
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Hey guys, it seems over the years no matter how good of a skirt/rock protection you have on the truck you still get chips in the gel coat on the camper at the front boots. Of course unavoidable but create places for moisture to get in. I was just curious as to weather anyone has used boxliner coating on this area for protection? I was debating the idea of putting it on an stopping where it starts to curve around to the underside of the bedroom area. I think it would look pretty slick too. Only issue being is how well it would "take" to the gel coat. I applied EZ liner boxliner coating to my entire 30' flatbed gooseneck trailer and i was very impressed with how rugged and how very well its stood up to the abuse. No chips or anything.
So far the origional repair he made is holding up, iam just afraid that if it is moisture in behind the gelcoat that is causing this, that it would just be maybe a matter of time before it bulges out again? hard to say. are these bubbles all over your camper?
Thankyou for the reply, i did have a couple of these bubbles repaired before i picked up my camper. I noticed them during the PDI. unfortunately i missed these last few. They took my camper to a professional body shop and i stopped by to see how they were making out one day and they also ground out the bubbles and injected some sort of material, then re coated. There not huge and maybe they really arent that big of a deal? But there has to be moisture behind there to cause them i would think which scares me a little bit because my wife and i are also in love with our topaz, there just dosent seem to be a trailer out there these days made as strong or with quality materials. I had family friends who had a 2000 topaz touring luxury edition 29ft who also had this problem, but aparently in 1999-2000 they had an issue with the gel coat that caused these bubbles. But was supposed to be remedied in 2001. Unfortunately there bubbles/chips were all over the camper kind of like someone shot it with a pellet gun, they were quoted i believe 10,000$ to replace the siding, they had to make a tough decision to trade it in as really 10,000$ is hard to justify on an older unit even of that high quality. and now they have a 2012, 30' cougar and it seems all they can ever talk about is how much they miss there topaz quality, nothing but issues with the cougar thus far. Nonetheless our camper will be going to back to the dealer to have ALL of these fixed. There has to be a quality fix for this. It seems like the body shops repair is holding well but time will tell. I think whats causing it, is the moisture expands with the heat thus pushing the gel coat out forming a bubble. Then its my opinion that in the winter the bubble freezes the moisture inside and bursts. A few of the places i have repaired were bubbles which turned to "chips" id imagine. Has to be someone else out there thats gone through this id imagine?
Good morning ladies/fellas. Just recently got back from our annual 3 week holiday up at the lake full of fishing/skiing and relaxing! This was our first trip out in our "new to us" triple e topaz touring edition. My wife and i are absolutely in love with it in every way. We purchased it from a dealer and upon my inspection i found a couple bubbles in the Gel coat... correct me if im wrong but i believe triple E had a gel coat siding? So they had a professional place in town fix the bubbles but i noticed a few other smaller ones that werent "found" during their check overs before my PDI, theres about 3 or 4 bubbles that i need to get the dealer to fix again which is fine. Thing is the whole entire camper was checked over for proper sealing on the roof windows, everything. My biggest concern is, are these bubbles always going to re-surface? Id hate to have just bought a camper that we love so much to find out were going to have a chronic problem like this. Also the bubbles arent scattered across the unit, their in one cluster with them being 3 or 4" apart. Biggest one is about the size of a quarter, where as the other 3 are smaller than a dime.http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj616/duramax_diesel/001-1.jpg height=400 width=400
i seen those pictures of yours before twinstick, nice job! frustrating how even welding companies skimp on material to save a buck. As you stated if were pulling 3500lbs of boat, it should be made to pull 10,000lbs. Again i am sure well be totally fine with this, but ill be making it "correctly" when we get home. Besides if she rips off the camper frame on the way up and the boat goes for a ride, guess whos buying me a new 40,000$ boat!
haha old biscuit you sound like a boilermaker to me! actually just in a shutdown at the moment in our unit 5 boiler, iam replacing a bunch of superheat tubes, and a couple others due to soot blower erosion, typical pad welding on the water wall.
as for the hitch i fabricated for our last camper it worked well, i made it over kill i am sure but again piece of mind is a good thing. I think being that i am so "used" to building that way that seeing somthing like this from another shop makes me think shes not going to be strong enough. Well just use it the way it is for this year and ill "reconstruct" it when we get home.
I definatly plan on adding what i believe is correct bracing when we get home from the lake. Like i say unfortunately i just dont have time to do it before friday as were in a shutdown and i am in the boiler doing superheater reapirs. Added a simple paint picture of what the camper has on it now, also a older picture of the boat before i bought the tandem axle for her. And lastly, a picture of the reciever i built for our last fifth wheel. I prefer things to be "over" built for the simple reason i know how steel reacts to different situations and who knows this hitch thats on the camper now may suffice perfectly fine. Again i just unfortunately dont have the time to work on this hitch before we go. I suppose too its 3500lbs of rolling mass which is much different than 3500lbs of dead pulling weight.
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Hey fellas, my wife and i just purchased another new 30' fifth wheel camper. As part of the deal i negociated in having a reciever hitch installed on the rear of the fifth wheel so we can pull our boat. Ive made them before but i figured well what the heck if i dont have to crawl under this one to install one all the better! So the dealer sent it to one of our local welding shops in town to have on installed. Just got her back and of course me being a welder i am not sure weather shes stout enough. The fabrication and welding looks fine but i am curious as to what YOU guys would classify this hitch as, as far as weight carrying capacity.
This is how they designed it, my camper frame is 2 x 10 x 3/16" tubing so shes a strong frame. Now for the reciever, they have one 3/8" plate 6" x 8" long welded to the 2 x 10 frame on each side, coming below the frame to accept a 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" x 1/4" square tubing crossmember, where the crossmember is fully welded around on the 3/8" plate. The reciever tube is 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 3/16" welded to the main crossmember with gussetry also connecting to the crossmember.
Of course we get it back this week, and we head to the lake for our annual 4 week trip, so unfrotunately i dont have time to bring her down to the shop and have a look at it, i will after our trip. My question being what do you guys think this fabricated reciever hitch would classify as? class 2? class 3? How many LBS do you believe it could safely pull in its as fabricated state? We own an 1850 crestliner sportfish with 150 optimax on a tandem axle trailer, looking at roughly 3200-3500lbs of boat/trailer/motor, trolling motor, 3 batteries, half tank of fuel, fishing gear etc
its quite a straight forward procedure, as long as you can use a measuring tape and basic wrenches. Invite a friend over for 2 or 3 hours and save yourself 3 or 400$ ! The only important measurements are for the rail locations and thats generally as simple as measuring from the back of the box to the first edge of the first rail. Drill and snug up the bolts on the first rail, put in your hitch legs to align the second rail mark/drill. The only pain in the ass was tightening the bolts underneath on my new GM holy **** theres no room under there!
They can be trained to look for an adequate weld OR weld defects such as cracking, undercut, lack of fusion. Its quite obvious that Lippert dosent employ actual "welders" at there plant either. I am positive we could train our siberian huskies to lay a nicer bead. There frame quality and strength is an absolute joke. Being a welder it makes me shudder to think i actually pulled somthing like that down the road. Thank god i am into a camper now thats canadian made and has a quality frame under it.
i may be bias, but i would look into a left over triple e topaz, or i hear arctic fox is also a good brand. I dont mean to play sides, but look for somthing canadian made. I am a pressure pipe welder by trade and know when i see a good frame, and when you have a good frame the rest of the camper generally follows suit. Ive had american made campers too, all with the flimsy Ibeam frames. My current topaz is 2" x 10" x 3/16" thick structural tubing with 2 x 6 structrual tubing cross members, now THATS a frame that every camper should sit on, she stays tight, no shifting, and you can put a hefty boat hitch on there without worry. Our topaz has the winter package that has the dual pane windows, insulated/heated tanks, fully insulated under carriage etc. Dont get me wrong i am sure there are other quality brands out there i am just speaking from my personal experience. Just a testiment of how the topaz is still quality and a sought after fifth wheel a close friend who is a dealer recently just had a 2010 triple E topaz in 32' with two slides, and he sold it within a day of it coming in for 56,000$ canadian, he has literally a list of peoples names who are looking for topaz's.
I dont mean to be blunt, but you have to pay to play man, unfortunately that addage goes with anything if you want to do it right. In my honest opinion you should always have pleanty of capacity to spare with your tow vehicle. It gives you the confidence that you know your legal and safe. Key word being safe! because remember your on the road with alot of other people and if you tow with an inadequate vehicle you risk failure, and that in turn usually results in someone getting hurt or killed. Our total weight including truck tops out around 24,000lbs or about 16,500lbs with the camper/boat hooked together. With my fifth wheel i dont have the big pin weight that some of these bigger fivers have, were at about 1800lbs but we have 76' bumper to prop so the decision for a dually for us was easy because i like to be well within the limits rather than white knuckling. The dually handles the load extremely well, great in high winds, just overall a way more stable tow vehicle. My 3/4 ton duramax would have been struggling to pull this properly, not power wise but suspension wise.
Family friends of ours traded there 29' topaz Luxury edition in on a 2012, 29' cougar last year. They dont midn the layout but have had nothing but issues with the camper itself. the bottoms of 3 drawers in the kitchen fell out, jamming them in there so they were inacessible, rear bumpers welds failed and it fell off which in turn bounced off the road and back up at the rear of the camper and smashed a spare tire sized hole in it, spring hanger weld failed, and shower wasnt sealed properly and they now have a mold issue. All taken care under warrenty of course, but it seems theyve spent more time driving to the dealer to drop it off than camping. Needless to say they miss there topaz.