Open Roads Forum

Print  |  Close

Topic: How unusual is this?

Posted By: Dave Mac on 09/29/10 03:08pm

After my first trip in my truck camper, one of the tie-down eyebolts pulled out. This camper looked in excellent condition when I bought it (used). I bought it from a dealer so they did the repair under warranty.

Now after my third trip, another one pulled through. I always wondered just how strong these things are. They take a lot of tension when the camper rocks and rolls.

So now I'm wondering if this is typical or if it is a defect or if it is the manufacturer not doing a good job designing it. The backing is a L-bracket that is about 4 inches long. It appears not to have been anchored to the wood. Just set on top of the wood and the eye-bolt screwed into it from below.

I don't think this camper was used much at all by the previous owners. Also, I use it on a 4-wheel drive truck and have taken it on gravel roads in the middle of the woods in WV. I do drive slow and don't abuse it. I just want to be able to go places that I can't get to with other types of campers.

Do I need a different brand? Or is this somewhat common?

Thanks in advance,

Dave







2002 Tiffin Phaeton 40ft 330HP Cat
2008 F350 w/Lance 992 Truck Camper


Posted By: Americamper on 09/29/10 03:24pm

If your tie downs are adjusted too tight it might cause this. I have been offroad on some fairly rough roads and so far no damage.I don't know what type you have but the Torklift's have springs inside so as to let the rods give a little when the going gets rough.


2000 F250 Superduty 7.3 SB SRW, E rated Michelins, Torklifts, Timbren's fastguns,2004 Northstar Laredo, , Triumph Bonneville 09, Suzuki RM 250 06


Posted By: rexford on 09/29/10 03:27pm

Can't speak to that make or model but that just does not
seem right. First thing I would do is install a rubber mat
in the bed and maybe back off the tension. Secondly I would
see if there are stronger brackets you can buy. I have a
little 815 camper and even it has a 6 inch brackets with
either 4 or 6 bolts holding it in place. Those tie downs
dont look right to me but again I have no experience with
that rig. Maybe some spring loaded tie downs would help as
well. Just a few random thoughts. Keep us posted as that
does not seem normal.

Mike


PS the rubber mats really keep the camper from moving around.


Posted By: sirdrakejr on 09/29/10 03:30pm

The first picture of the wood makes me wonder, is that wood solid? It doesn't look great in that photo.
Frank


2011 Palomino Maverick 1000SLLB on a 2004 Dodge Quadcab CTD Ram3500 SRW long bed equipped with Timbren springs, Stable Load bump stops, Rickson 19.5" wheels/"G" range tires and a Helwig "Big Wig" rear anti sway bar.



Posted By: Dave Mac on 09/29/10 03:32pm

I do have the spring loaded tie-downs (hapiJac). I have checked them often (every stop) to make sure they are adjusted so that the spring works.

Tie-Downs I use

Thanks for the info so far....


Posted By: Dave Mac on 09/29/10 03:37pm

Frank,

No its not solid wood. It some kind of press board I think. To get home this last time, I took out one of the bolts on the jack attachment plate and hooked into that. They look to be bolted on very strongly. Maybe I will have to do that all the way around.


Posted By: River&Sand on 09/29/10 09:34pm

Joe is right on. Rotted OSB, screws in the pictures are rusted indicating water is present. The OSB is discolored and flakey looking, when it gets like that it loses all strength. The water was probably entering around the jack area not being sealed properly.


River&Sand
05 Chev Ext.Cab K3500, Dmax/Alli, DRW, Reese Signature 18k, HappiJac, Jordan 2020
05 Lance 920 Truck Camper
06 Weekend Warrior LE3305, 5th Airborne, Dexter E-Z Flex
01 HighJumper SandSprite 3 Dune Buggy


Posted By: sirdrakejr on 09/30/10 04:08pm

Makes sense to me!
Frank


Posted By: wnjj on 09/30/10 10:01am

sirdrakejr wrote:

I was not thinking much about the eye being welded shut. I was told by TorkLift that they ONLY have 800# tension on their tie downs. That was a LOT less than I thought. Wont those eye bolts take that without opening?
Frank


Considering the tie-downs are open hooks I sure wouldn't worry about the eyes.


Posted By: d3500ram on 09/30/10 10:28am

I welded mine on the repairs because I did have one eye bolt open up. Perhaps you folks doubting this are in fact correct because on the side of the TC that I did the repairs, there were several issues going on:

One of the ties downs was completely pulled through as it was only a lag eye bolt. I was using just the remaining tie down on that side and perhaps it is the one that opened up because it was doing double the work. I do not remember the specifics and the order in which it all happened... just remember that tie down fasteners were pulling out, opening up ...and I was duct taping Fast Guns in place to keep from losing them on the road, etc... It truly was a comedy of errors.

When I got home I said screw all the rigged repairs and decided to do it right once and for all. Doing it correctly included removing the water heater, battery box, etc... to gain access to the TC's inside cavities and do the repairs as noted in the section drawing of which I linked. Because of the the experience on the road including the double duty eye bolt that opened up, I decided to weld them closed just as a precaution (I tend to over engineer my repairs.)

Was it over kill? perhaps... but the experience of the eye opening up regardless of how or why is something of which I did not want to deal with again.


2005 Dodge 3500 SRW, Qcab long bed, NV-6500, diesel, 4WD, Helwig, 9000XL,
Nitto 285/70/17 Terra Grapplers, Honda eu3000Is, custom overload spring perch spacers.
2008 NorthStar Arrow short bed.



Posted By: Farmerjon on 09/29/10 07:47pm

We also have a Starcraft camper, ours is a 1999 953.
Starcraft is still in business they just don’t make truck campers anymore. You can Email them or phone them. Telephone: 800-945-4787 Their website is starcraftrv.com
good luck. Farmerjon


00 F350 SC LB 4x4 DRW 7.3 PSD 6sp 3.73 DIY stable loads
99 Starcraft 953
87 F250 460 4x4 4sp 4.11 ex cab 8ft
95 jeep YJ 4cyl 5sp
69 f250 360 4sp



Posted By: d3500ram on 09/29/10 09:15pm

JoeChiOhki wrote:

....Chipboard has no structural strength. Its Glue and wood chips.
JCO is dead on right in his reply. The correct material to use is CDX ply wood which by its very nature is an exterior grade engineered type of wood. It is essentially a thinner type of LVL.

JoeChiOhki wrote:

Plus, judging by the discoloration, the wood has been getting wet from water wicking in from the edge which means the chip board has the structural integrity of a piece of sopping wet cardboard.
Again- correct. But even if the proper materials were originally used, water is still an enemy.

JoeChiOhki wrote:

...Get a fabricator to make you some new angle iron brackets one that goes on the outside with a permanent hole in it for the turnbuckle to attach to, then a second angle iron piece that goes on the inside and bolts into the side wall frame. ...
I did what is suggested but used flat 3x(length)x 1/8" steel in lieu of angle on the outside... but it was not as bad as the OP photos.

I had tie down points pull out on a TC due to water intrusion weakening the structure. It was plywood rather than pressed board so there was an advantage to doing repairs to salvage the camper. In a temporary repair I screwed in a lag eye bolt, but it was not fully connected... that is, it was not fully connected in the round circle. Refer to second to last OP photos for explanation: notice that the "circle" of the fastener is not contiguous. My temp repair using "non- connected" eye bolts only opened them up on rough off road terrain.

In my final repair, I welded the very slight gap where the circle connects to itself and used the welded eye bolts with nuts and washers throught the inside and outside steel. See my arrow below on OP's image as to where I welded the eye bolt on my repair:




See my cross section diagram in THIS POST. The steel is running the full length of the camper side.

Fully adhered eye bolts along with steel angle inside and flat stock on the underside along with repairs to plywood worked for me. Not to rain on your parade, but JCO is right in that your base wood had no structural strength. It will take some ingenuity to make the repairs as shown in the posted photos.

* This post was edited 09/29/10 09:23pm by d3500ram *


Posted By: sirdrakejr on 09/29/10 11:48pm

I was not thinking much about the eye being welded shut. I was told by TorkLift that they ONLY have 800# tension on their tie downs. That was a LOT less than I thought. Wont those eye bolts take that without opening?
Frank


Posted By: JoeChiOhki on 09/29/10 05:15pm

Starcraft is a dead Camper company, and Chipboard has no structural strength. Its Glue and wood chips. Plus, judging by the discoloration, the wood has been getting wet from water wicking in from the edge which means the chip board has the structural integrity of a piece of sopping wet cardboard.

How to fix it?

Get a fabricator to make you some new angle iron brackets one that goes on the outside with a permanent hole in it for the turnbuckle to attach to, then a second angle iron piece that goes on the inside and bolts into the side wall frame.

I have simple eye hook tie downs and have not had one pull out but I have two sheets of solid plywood back to back instead of chipboard.


My Blog - The Journey of the Redneck Express
CB Channel 17 Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 "Dually" Power Wagon - Club Cab Long Bed 4x4 V8 5.9L gashog w/4.10 Geared axles
'1974 KIT Kamper 1106 - 11' Slide-in
'2006 Heartland BigHorn 3400RL



Posted By: Dave Mac on 09/30/10 07:10pm

Sounds like this is not up to the normal standards of how to manufacture tie-downs. The dealer did what seems to be a very good job of repairing the last one that pulled out. They opened the area up from the outside and inside the bathroom and installed some heavy-duty backing and re-installed everything. It was done very neatly with what looks to me like a good quality (not too much) caulking job. They have been in business at the same location for about 50 years now. The original owner is still there! He's an old WW-2 guy. So I can take it back and they will fix this. The problem is, I think one of the others looks like it's starting to pull out. I can see where there is a slight bulge around the eye-bolt. I guess I will have to talk to them about getting all of them fixed so that I don't have to do it on the road again.

Otherwise, this camper "seems" to be in excellent condition and everything works well. I am interested in getting something with more room now that I've had a chance to try Truck Camping. I find that I want to take this all the time these days and don't want to be without one again. So, there's a Lance 992 for sale not too far away and that looks like a nice layout with a lot of the options what I want. How do the Lances hold up? Especially in the off-road, tie-down department?

Thanks again for everyone's help. It's good to know that this isn't a common problem. I really like getting way back off the beaten path and need to have a way to do that without worrying about the thing falling off the truck!

Dave.


Posted By: Atchafalaya_man on 09/30/10 08:44pm

Your idea of using the jack bracket as a tie-down point is what I recently did myself. I was worried about pulling out an eye-ring because of overtightening, but at the same time, I was attempting to reduce the porpoising of the camper by making tighter tie-down on the front end.

Using some things laying around the shop, I installed a little piece of metal (black) for an additional tie-down point on the jack-bracket and attached a new piece of chain to the TorqueLift tie down.

I do believe it reduced the porpoising a bit. This was just a proto-type from things laying around the shop.

The rear is a different story since the jack-bracket is too far away.






Posted By: Matthew_B on 09/30/10 04:19pm

Regardless of the OSB the tie down anchoring seems pathetic.

On my camper the front tie downs, the front jack mounts and the front corner reinforcements are all tied together. The back tie downs are attached to a 4" x 6" aluminum angle.






Print  |  Close