HF Trailer Failure

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HF Trailer Failure

Postby tnsurveyor » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:28 am

I posted this in another thread, but thought it was important enough to have it's own thread.

I would strongly suggest staying away from the Harbor Freight trailers.

I purchased Hap's camper earlier this year. We like the camper, and on the second trip this weekend, we suffered what could have been a catastrophic trailer failure. The front cross member of the trailer has a small bracket that attaches to the tongue frame. You can use a pin for the trailer to tilt, or a bolt to make it rigid. A weld broke between the cross member and the bracket that the bolt goes through to connect the two pieces together.

Thankfully the failure occurred in the campground after going over a speed bump very slowly. We had just traveled about 70 miles on a combination of interstates and rural state highways. I had noticed it was pulling a little different, but thought I had the sway bar adjusted incorrectly.

Had the cross member failed on the highway, it would have caused major damage, and probably hurt someone. The failure highlights the cheap steel used in these trailers. The cross member actually tore. I have been around steel and welding my whole life, and never seen steel tear like this.

I was able to use rope and a ratchet strap to temporarily secure the trailer to make the 20 mile trip to my Dad's shop. The trailer is there, and we'll tackle the repair when we have a few spare hours.

The trailer is the base on which we build these campers. With the time, effort, and money we invest in our campers, I would suggest not skimping on the trailer. I will take pictures when we repair the trailer and post.
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Re: HF Trailer Failure

Postby Dan242 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:03 am

When I assembled my HF trailer, I saw that joint as a weak link, I added extra weld to the brackets, as the weld was small. I also added a 3rd member like others have going back to first cross and welded a 12" angle to the end of it and that bolts to the first cross. This way I can still remove the a-frame if needed for space in my garage but its stronger than the stock configuration. Anyone using these trailers for any serious builds , needs to add the 3rd rail in my opinion. Not in this picture, but I also doubled the c channel in the first cross and added triangle plates in corners to strengthen that whole front end

Image
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Re: HF Trailer Failure

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:23 am

Yup, I think there has been one other known failure at that same spot. People always ask what was the trailer weight? What was the tongue weight? It matters, but that exact point is the weak link.

Just as Dan mentioned, the tongue modification is a smart way to go. I've done it to all my HF/NT frames, and I even extend it back to the second cross member. The way I did it required no welding. Cheap and easy.
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Re: HF Trailer Failure

Postby Dan242 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:30 pm

Only reason I did not go to 2nd cross, is I built underfloor storage that went in that area.., it is an easy upgrade and well worth the piece of mind
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