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Old 02-26-2014, 07:54 AM   #1
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1959 24' Tradewind
collingwood , Ontario
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Frame rot under tongue

Hi Folks
Having had a proper look under the tongue of my 59 Tradewind, I noticed some rot at the tip of the A frame. I have a welder standing by to do some work on the frame at the rear, but wonder if any folks have dealt with securing under the tongue plate, and any suggestions or threads that have such info?

My plan is to take off the jack [and replace it] and sandblast the area, but am unsure of what to do for the steel at that point. Do I cut off the whole section and rebuild?
Thanks for your time and experience on this one.
Muskie
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:57 AM   #2
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On a 59 I would chop off the A frame and install an all new one....longer than the original. Fix two problem areas at once. The problems with short one and turning radius/damage .....remove severe rust out areas. Avoid making any changes which capture moisture.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:22 AM   #3
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Wow, that sounds quite drastic, remove the whole A frame from where? The place where the tongue plate is welded on, or where it meets inside?
I am trying to keep costs down, and to have a trailer that functions as a studio, not doing a full restoration...and probably it won't be towed a lot, but that said I value your experience on this and am curious as to any further thoughts.
Cheers
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:03 PM   #4
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Picture doesnt show much about how extensive the damage is, but that part looks pretty bad. That said, your '59 is a pretty desirable model, and what Melody Ranch is suggesting is a good consideration for the "while you're at it" or the "wish I would've" syndrome, depending on how bad it is, and how much you want to do. Its actually not THAT bad of a job... but then again, I've been a sever victim of the "while you're at it" syndrome, and now I have a totally ripped apart camper.

Here's a pic of mine so you can see it with out the body in the way. Although mine is different, it might help you get a feel for the job.
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:09 PM   #5
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Sorry- doesnt appear I answered your question.... At minimum, I think you need to cut off that whole section and replace it with a new one. You can buy that piece in one section and weld it on. BUT my guess from looking at the condition of that part, is that it may be bad in other places too... Hence the reason to "consider" the rest of the A frame post...

Also, any trailer shop could redo that section fairly easily, and probably not too expensive.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:05 PM   #6
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Look at the A frame where it goes into the front of the belly pan. That is a place where they can rust and break.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:49 AM   #7
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1959 24' Tradewind
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Thanks folks for all the input. I also checked out the rest of the exposed A frame all the way into the coach, It seems thankfully the rot is isolated to under the tongue area. I think I got lucky, but it is presently hard to see as it is pressed up against a barn door, and its -25 out there!

I assume the ''area'' that can be replaced is the actual tongue plate itself, to just past the jack area? I assume you mean I can purchase the tongue plate?

I will have to get some fabrication done where the rot is to ''beef'' it up, but I guess my question is if the original tongue area is due for the bin. As you can see, I will also remove the original jack, chains and clamps to sandblast the area.
Would be great to see a pic this area in question in the replacement process, so if anyone knows of any pics...?

cheers folks, and thanks for the confidence.... What seems a disaster to me may just as well be sorted fairly easily.
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:22 AM   #8
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See if this helps:

Trailer Couplers | etrailer.com
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Old 02-28-2014, 10:09 AM   #9
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muskie View Post
Thanks folks for all the input. I also checked out the rest of the exposed A frame all the way into the coach, It seems thankfully the rot is isolated to under the tongue area. I think I got lucky, but it is presently hard to see as it is pressed up against a barn door, and its -25 out there!

I assume the ''area'' that can be replaced is the actual tongue plate itself, to just past the jack area? I assume you mean I can purchase the tongue plate?

I will have to get some fabrication done where the rot is to ''beef'' it up, but I guess my question is if the original tongue area is due for the bin. As you can see, I will also remove the original jack, chains and clamps to sandblast the area.
Would be great to see a pic this area in question in the replacement process, so if anyone knows of any pics...?

cheers folks, and thanks for the confidence.... What seems a disaster to me may just as well be sorted fairly easily.
As the tongue rail sections are wide open at the front, water, humidity & all forms of vermin have been going into your A frame for the past 55 years. It is likely rotting out from the inside, down in the rails, back below the body. We have repaired a lot of chassis with this problem. You should cut the coupler off & add 1 1/2" X 3" X 1/8" steel tubes down inside the existing "A" (assuming its not totally hopeless) & plug weld the reinforcement to the existing rail, then close the ends completely & weld the coupler back on. Failing to take this approach, or something similar will likely end up with a severed "A" frame at some inopportune moment.
Colin
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Old 03-01-2014, 05:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin H View Post
As the tongue rail sections are wide open at the front, water, humidity & all forms of vermin have been going into your A frame for the past 55 years. It is likely rotting out from the inside, down in the rails, back below the body. We have repaired a lot of chassis with this problem. You should cut the coupler off & add 1 1/2" X 3" X 1/8" steel tubes down inside the existing "A" (assuming its not totally hopeless) & plug weld the reinforcement to the existing rail, then close the ends completely & weld the coupler back on. Failing to take this approach, or something similar will likely end up with a severed "A" frame at some inopportune moment.
Colin
Cheers Colin, that sounds like a good approach for sure. I guess the process would be to drill holes in the existing A frame for the plug weld then slide the new stell in.
One question; when I cut the coupler off, do I cut the A frame steel off as well and thus weld the coupler then to new steel? In other words will the new steel be exposed in a telescopic way?
Cheers, and thanks for all your advice on this old beast, it has been golden.
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Old 03-01-2014, 05:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mixter View Post
Thanks, you added a word to my airstream vocabulary; coupler.
I will investigate further....
cheers
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:58 AM   #12
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Cheers Colin, that sounds like a good approach for sure. I guess the process would be to drill holes in the existing A frame for the plug weld then slide the new stell in.
One question; when I cut the coupler off, do I cut the A frame steel off as well and thus weld the coupler then to new steel? In other words will the new steel be exposed in a telescopic way?
Cheers, and thanks for all your advice on this old beast, it has been golden.
Cut the welds holding the coupler to the rails & remove it that way, then assess the integrity of the steel below, replacing as necessary. The new "sister" rail should bridge everything................giving you "peace of mind". If what is below the coupler is deemed OK, the new steel will be hidden, if not, you will need to butt weld another new piece of rail, the same exterior size as the existing, in order to make it right. Make sure you close the ends of the rails before reinstalling the coupler.

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Old 03-01-2014, 01:02 PM   #13
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1959 24' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin H View Post
Cut the welds holding the coupler to the rails & remove it that way, then assess the integrity of the steel below, replacing as necessary. The new "sister" rail should bridge everything................giving you "peace of mind". If what is below the coupler is deemed OK, the new steel will be hidden, if not, you will need to butt weld another new piece of rail, the same exterior size as the existing, in order to make it right. Make sure you close the ends of the rails before reinstalling the coupler.

Colin
Will do, and thanks again. I have an experienced set of eyes on site to give this old green horn advice about metal.
Will update the state of it, and await any dead rats.
Muskie
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