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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Broken ladder - repair or replace?

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Ramblin' Ralph

Central California Coast

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Posted: 01/27/21 07:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Last summer I had an encounter with a tree and it won, resulting in a broken ladder on my truck camper. The attached pictures show the remaining part of the still attached bottom section and the broken off center section. The top section is also broken from the top of the center. I'm wondering if I could put the ladder back together successfully and not have to install a new one? That would save quite a bit of work to remove all the old caulking at the bottom and the above standoff and put on new.

I was thinking about either a sleeve to go over the ends of the two broken tubes or an insert that would go inside the two tubes. A sleeve on the outside might cause a problem at the standoff though, since the sleeve diameter would be bigger than the ladder and possibly affect the proper flat attachment to the top.

Do either of the above ideas seem workable?

Thanks, Ralph

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agesilaus

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Posted: 01/27/21 08:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How about a wooden dowel inside and JB Weld? You might have to get one a little large and sand it down to a good fit.


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RJsfishin

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Posted: 01/27/21 09:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I repaired mine, it was very time consuming, never again. I wished I had bought a new one


Rich

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BobsYourUncle

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Posted: 01/27/21 10:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would opt for an internal pipe if you can find something with the same or slightly smaller OD than the ID of your ladder.

Fixing it internally would be safer. An outside sleeve, in addition to being in the way as you mentioned, could also be something to interfere with climbing it, or possibly cutting your fingers on.

As someone who has been climbing ladders for 45 years, I can say you get used to a certain size pipe on a ladder. You climb without really looking at it. If you suddenly encounter something that shouldn't be there, it could throw you off enough to slip. I know this from experience.

An internal pipe, or the good dowel idea above, could easily be held in place with a few pop rivets. One on each side of the joint and it will never go anywhere, even into wood. Then smooth over the outside of the rivet with some JB Weld or similar to eliminate sharp edges to catch your fingers on.


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wa8yxm

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Posted: 01/28/21 03:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My opinion of those ladders is something you normally leave..er.. behind (when sitting down on a very special "chair")

I had a fabricator make me a pair of "J" hooks (they look like a letter J) lag bolted them to the rear of the RV a few inches apart just below the roof line.

My dad had gotten a convertable Step/Extension ladder, the "J's" were set so that i just fit over them. I hung it on the 'J's put a shower Grab Bar at the bottom and both bungee corded and bicycle locked the ladder to the shower bar.

Extension it was JUST long enough to put me on the roof (I could have used 6 more inches but it was enough) and as a step ladder perfect for the semi-annual wash and wax.


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Gdetrailer

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Posted: 01/28/21 08:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ladders are a safety hazard when they are in good shape.

Replacement ladders don't cost an "arm and leg" but DR bills, xrays, surgeons and hospital stays DO.

Found a brand new replacement exterior ladder HERE for $127..

If that won't work, shop around they are not all that expensive and you will have a much more sound ladder..

Hardware store chain I worked for many yrs ago the stores sent back any damaged in shipment ladders and our warehouse had to destroy the ladders.. Some of those were very high dollar heavy duty fiberglass extension ladders..

Was sad to see a $400+ ladder get chopped up and tossed into the dumpster but ladders can be replaced, your life however cannot.

Horsedoc

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Posted: 01/28/21 08:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TIG weld at a local metal shop>>?

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 01/28/21 08:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Horsedoc wrote:

TIG weld at a local metal shop>>?


Extremely THIN aluminum tubing most likely even a good welder with aluminum welding experience might have tough time.. Not to mention what most good welders will charge per hr would easily exceed the cost of a NEW ladder..

To "fix" it (and that is a stretch), the tubing needs reinforced, internal tubing would be ideal.. Now you would have to find aluminum tubing of the correct diameter to fit snugly inside the existing ladder tubing.. Not easy to find tubing nor cheap in fractional sizes to fit inside or outside diameters..

Then one would HAVE to cut back the existing ladder tubing to get rid of any kinks or tears which would compromise the strength.. Making for a larger gap that one would have to account for in the steps (have to keep steps distance consistent otherwise risk a missed step).

Then once you get all that together then attempt to weld it without blow outs and hope that it all sticks together..

Aluminum like most metals also work hardens, bends or twisting or heating it can and will make it harden and get brittle.

If one was to attempt this repair, drilling through the internal and external pipe and using a bolt or even a through rivet would be easier and most likely safer in the long run..

But, in reality, for the measily $127 it costs for a new ladder, to me all that work and hassle is not worth risking my life on..

Dick_B

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Posted: 01/28/21 10:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How about one of those collapsible ladders that don't take up much space. Unless aesthetics are a problem for you leave the ladder pieces in place and hook up a temporary clothes rack on what's left.


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doughere

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Posted: 01/28/21 02:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm with Gdetrailer. These things are at best none too hardy. I'm all for saving money, but not at the expense of safety.

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