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Old 04-16-2012, 08:31 PM   #15
2 Rivet Member
Aptos , California
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 82
So did frame thickness randomly switch between 4 and 5 inches thick, or was there some kind of order to the madness?

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Old 05-05-2012, 12:37 AM   #16
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1977 31' Excella 500
West Sacramento , California
Join Date: Feb 2008
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My turn for frame sag

I'm adding to this existing thread instead of starting a new one. After a 3000 mile trip last year, I noticed that my 77 rear bath Excella 500 was starting to lose exterior rivets around the wheel well on the road side and a dimple that has been visible for years just aft of the wheel well starting to look bigger. A stress crack had also developed over the door about a year ago. 10 years ago over a dozen interior rivets had sheared off when my parents owned the trailer and were actively attending WBCCI rallies. The trailer sat dormant from 2002-20010.

The axles were definitely shot and I had them replaced first thing 2 years ago with a pair of 4500lb henschens when I took ownership of the trailer. The trailer weighs 7500lbs empty per CAT scale. Since the axle replacement I have not lost any interior rivets and I replaced all the broken ones. However, the door frame crack did appear shortly after the axle replacement and as I said earlier the dimple grew larger. Also, the rear bathroom, which has always had the feel of a downward slope seemed to have more of a slope than usual and the rear appeared to be sagging in phootos.

In preparation for my next 3000 mile trip at the end of May, I took the trailer in to have the frame inspected. The belly pan had never been removed before. The shop found good news and bad news. The good news is that the steel frame has absolutely no rust and the plywood floor and insulation are like new and very clean. All the outriggers are good and bolts are secure. The bad news is that the frame is cracked on the road side just above the rear axle and there is noticeable frame sag heading rearward, mainly on the road side. There are also a couple of sizeable dents in the bottom portion of the road side C is directly between the axles and may have been caused from improper jacking? The second one is about 6 feet farther back in the same area as the dimple. That could help explain the dimple? The crack extends accross the top of the C channel. The welder will straighten the frame and reinforce the C channel with additonal plating.

While I'm 99% sure the frame damage was mainly caused by driving on bad axles over many years, the shop said the 2 year old new axles are not bolted tight enough to the frame and are moving...Especially the rear axle where the frame crack and sag is. In the picture you can see evidence of the axle moving as the mounting hole is elongated. I've put about 7,000 miles on those axles in the past 2 years.

On the bright side I know my frame is rust free and once welded will be solid for years to come. Having seen so many pictures of rusted out frames and outriggers and moisture soaked insulation on these boards, I was expecting much worse than what I found. We originally were going to drop the rear holding tanks to see if there was any rust or breakage but given the rust free condition of the rest of the frame, the shop suggested I avoid the cost of all that labor as there definitely is no rear frame separation, just frame sag. I was surprised to see the frame painted black from the factory. I had assumed the frames were unpainted or painted gray based on pictures of 70's trailers on the forums.

Everything should be fixed and ready to roll on the 29th for Yellowstone.
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