Bent Frame?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Repairs & Maintenance' started by revance, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. revance

    revance New Member

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    I have a 1984 Starcraft that my father gave to me and I was having issues with the door lining up correctly. I noticed that the side of the door frame that is towards the rear of the camper is not square with the floor. I read here that this is often caused by the weight of the bunks causing the side of the camper to buckle due to wood rot of simply deterioration of the structure. However mine is not square even when the bunks are in and the whole thing is closed up.

    I took a level to the top of the box and found that while the wall on the tongue side was level, the wall on the rear side was not (lower towards the back). Then I took the level to the bottom of the side of the frame and found the exact same was true. So it appears that the wall is perfectly level with the frame, but the frame rear of the door sags in the rear. On the non-door side of the camper it does not appear to do this.

    Is it possible that the side rails of the frame have gotten bent? I haven't climbed under it to check the main pieces of the frame. If this is the case, what is the best solution?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. edh

    edh Active Member

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    It's possible but I wouldn't think it's very unlikely. To be more sure park on as flat a surface as you can find. Doesn't have to be perfectly level, just flat. Then measure from frame to ground at various points and compare side to side. Then repeat, measuring from each corner of the top of the box to the ground. Also measure from bottom edge of frame to the bottom of the floor, in the vicinity of the door, to see if rot in the side panel may be allowing it to compress and throw the door out of square. On last thing: be sure the stabilizers are up.
     
  3. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    If someone tried to level the pup using the stabs it is possible that they bent the frame.

    X2, for doing this you do not want the pup level..
     
  4. revance

    revance New Member

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    Sorry for taking so long to respond. The frame is definitely bowed. I ran a piece of string along the main rails from front to back and there is a good 1-2" gap in the middle where the axle is.

    I also noticed that the axle is shot and needs replaced. I wonder if that could have contributed to the frame getting bowed.

    Any suggestions on how to fix the frame? Is it acceptable to just lift the end up using jacks under the main rails on the frame? When I do that, the gap on the door closes up. Obviously I would do that AFTER raising the roof.
     
  5. R00

    R00 Active Member

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    If it's a torsion axle, and its truly shot, then you are spot on.
     
  6. revance

    revance New Member

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    Yes, it is a torsion axle, and it is definitely shot... the tire is rubbing against the wheel well. There are dents in the bracket where it attaches to the frame where the arm has been pushed all the way up into it. I noticed a strange sound when we took it camping. Now I know what it was. Sadly, we are supposed to go camping on Friday, so unless I find a place locally with an axle in stock, I guess we will be taking a tent.

    Anything I can do about the frame? Can I just jack up the end when leveling to straighten everything out? I figure it shouldnt really harm anything. Worst case it bends the frame in the correct direction right?

    Thanks!
     
  7. revance

    revance New Member

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    A buddy of mine said he would help me straighten the frame. He has a pit with railroad track over it. He assured me it would be simple to fix. Hooray for country boy friends
     
  8. edh

    edh Active Member

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    With that kind of rig it should be fixable, and sounds like your friend knows what he's doing so I hope it works out. Will be interested in what you find out about axle replacements as mine also has a torsion axle and I don't know much about them.
     
  9. revance

    revance New Member

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    My friend's plan is to put it over his pit, put it on some leveled blocks, and use a chain and ratchet to pull down on the middle of the frame (where it is highest). Then maybe weld some reinforcement along the main rails if necessary.

    Is your camper a Starcraft? If so, mine uses some proprietary brackets to attach the axle. Luckily you can still get them from Dexter.
     
  10. edh

    edh Active Member

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    No, I've got a palomino, will have to check re who made my axle
     

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