Camper Design..Check the DESIGN SPECS

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 02, 2003 at 20:29
ThreadID: 5786 Views:2426 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
This Thread has been Archived
IS THERE AN AUSTRALIAN STANDARD OR CODE THAT HAS BEEN ADAPTED FOR OFF-ROAD SUSPENSION & CONSTRUCTION??
Background
I purchased a new (Victorian built) made to order Camper "Off Road" trailer in 1999, from Outer West Sydney Dealer. We went up to to Frazer Island, down to Duea National Park about 6 times, around the Victorian Highlands in a 2 year period on formed dirt roads and in late 2001 we headed for the red centre. Via Cobar , White Cliffs up to Cameron's Corner & then up to Inaminka. From there up to Birdsville but... about 100k from Birdsville on the way up both the leaf springs suddenly tore from their mountings where the Top Pin Bush of the shackles pivot brackets were welded on the box section chassis.We were travelling on regulation marked roads..not off-road at any stage. We could of been stranded miles from anywhere with serious consequences or a terrible road accident. But being a Mechanical Engineer I managed to make good some temporary repairs to keep moving on.
After further investigation at Birdsville I was horrified to find the chassis was a 50mm box section with only 1.6 mm wall???. There was no re-enforcement of the load bearing areas with any additional compensation to spread the load along the chassis or stop the section from crushing. The welding was only a minimum with stress promoters at weld ends which mechanically allow the initiation of cracks with normal bending moments from the forces generated by the leaf spring suspension..This ruined our trip & we made some more temporary repairs & limped back home.
I have subsequently repaired the trailer with substantial bracing to uniformly spread the load.(I have photoes of before & after repairs )
I SHARE THIS AS A MATTER OF CAUTION THAT WHEN PURCHASING A TRAILER FOR OFF-ROAD USE TO MAKE SURE THAT:
* IT IS PURPOSE BUILT AND NOT JUST A HIGHWAY TRAILER WITH OFF-ROAD 4 X 4 WHEELS & TYRES. A TRAP WHEN YOU HAVE A LIMITED BUDGET.
** THE CHASSIS IS STRONG ENOUGH AND DESIGNED FOR OFF-ROAD USE (ENGINEERING is REQUIRED)
*** ASK MANUFACTURERS FOR THEIR DESIGN CERTIFICATIONS....IF IT HAPPEND TO A NEW MOTOR CAR MODEL, THEY WOULD ALL BE RE-CALLED...
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Glenno - Wednesday, Jul 02, 2003 at 21:21

Wednesday, Jul 02, 2003 at 21:21
Ive heard some shocking stories about how camper trailers are made. From what I can tell there are no standards to adhere to. I know one company in Qld is owned and run by two guys who have never welded a gate in their life, let alone a camper trailer. My view is you need some engineering knowledge when it comes to building a camper thats going to be dragged over a couple of thousand km's of road per trip. Its more then just picking the biggest piece of BHP steel and making a box trailer.

After hearing some of the stories if i was ever to buy one I would make sure its a reputable brand that has been reviewed and stood the test of time. Im a bit worried when some of the backyard guys have their order books full. It must be based on price and the nice bright colour they are painted!

I remember one argument based around why one mob paint their campers rather than galvanise them. They claim the gal chips off and then rusts. My argument of its easier to chip off paint rather than gal just didnt seem to sink in. Ohh Well.

Cheers,

Glenn.
AnswerID: 24067

Follow Up By: Member - Wherethehellawi - Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 11:34

Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 11:34
Glenno
some people do have a few roos loose in the top padock!! Hot dip galv will oulast paint by a mile Geez my ol'lady knows that and she has a few loo... oops better not say that.Richard
0
FollowupID: 16205

Reply By: Tony - Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 07:19

Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 07:19
I would have thought being a Mechanical Engineer you would have crawled all over and under the camper before you took delivery. But that doesn't excuse the manufactures of not doing the job properly in the first place.
AnswerID: 24094

Follow Up By: Donald - Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 13:39

Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 13:39
Thanks Tony but I had a limited budget and this was not a "hot-dip" galvanized unit hence I had requested the under-body be painted with an anti-corrosive paint which I must admit was caked on and the welds were hard to see. There was no way to determin the wall thickness of the chassis as it was box-framed and I did not have ultrasonic equipment readily available for immediate use.
The Glossy Brochures are certainly a trap.
Can anyone tell me how I can display the photos of the damage etc.
Thanks
Donald
0
FollowupID: 16220

Reply By: crfan - Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 09:54

Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 09:54
I agree with you some of them look very flimsey but the other end of the stick is to keep weight down so it is a bit of a rock and hard place situation.
AnswerID: 24097

Reply By: Mick n Sal - Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 20:25

Thursday, Jul 03, 2003 at 20:25
Donald,
You're not on your own. Last year, on a trip up the cape, my in-laws brought their new camper trailer. All went well until the Pascoe river crossing on Frenchman's Rd. It suffered the same failure for a similar reason. The front shackle mount tore clean away from the chassis. After several roadside repairs, we made it to Moreton telegraph station, where we left it while we continued to Seisia. All thanks to Steve at Moreton who did a wonderful job of strengthening the area before reattaching the mount.

To the credit of the trailer builder, he was surprised when shown the damage and repairs, and has made changes to his design. He also coughed up for the repair.
AnswerID: 24126

Follow Up By: Member - Wherethehellawi - Friday, Jul 04, 2003 at 07:58

Friday, Jul 04, 2003 at 07:58
That is good after sales service.....pity we dont see it happening more. To fix or modify the design is good but to pay for repairs by others is outstanding customer relations.Richard
0
FollowupID: 16263

Reply By: Max - Friday, Jul 04, 2003 at 21:32

Friday, Jul 04, 2003 at 21:32
Donald - I appreciate the problem of limited budgets, but sometimes wonder if renting a top quality trailer for each trip might add up to a lot less dollars than buying a cheapie.

We researched for several years at the Caravan & Camping Shows before buying our retirement special, and ended up getting an Aussie Swag. High ground clearance, heavy sections (viewed from flat on my back on the showroom floor), treg coupling, independent suspension, hot dipped galv.

Its done about 80 000 clicks on roads varying in quality from bitumen to the Kalumbaru Road with no problems at all - not even a puncture. (The only exception is the day we forgot to lock the kitchen in properly and spread it along 10 kms of the Steep Point track - but total repair cost was $80, and it was not a design problem!)

A great way to see the crook roads, and we're off to the Kimberley again in ten days time - can't wait!
AnswerID: 24236

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)