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Thread: Attention Aluminum trailer owners.

  1. #1
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    Default Attention Aluminum trailer owners.

    If your trailer is over 3 years old you should inspect the aluminum for cracks. It is a very common problem on aluminum trailers. If you have not inspected or grease the bearing it would also be a good time, before its snows.

  2. #2

    Thumbs up

    And...when you find the cracks, it is best to stop drill them and then attach a fishplate by drilling and bolting, with an aluminum plate. Never attempt to weld it. Buying yourself some problems with that route. Also never use a dis-similar metal for a repair plate, as it will cause corrosion like you have never seen.
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    Iíve havenít welded up a lot of cracks in aluminum, I do know it done all the time by professionals. Could you explain why welding a crack in aluminum is a problem?

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    Repair shops often call welding cracks in aluminum "chasing the crack" when they weld. The problem is that you can weld the crack closed and it will continue on from the end, no matter how good a welder you are. Kind of like how a crack in your windshield just keeps growing. Aluminum is just like that for some reason.

    Another option to the drill/bolt plate is to use a structural epoxy. Loctite makes one that replaces welding and can take up to 40% elongation...which is a heck of a lot more than a weld will take. They use these structural bonders to put aluminum boats together so they do work.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    would stop drilling and then welding work? ....I've got some pretty nasty cracks in my trailer and have been looking to fix it....
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    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned duct tape...

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin14 View Post
    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned duct tape...
    I've tried that...lol...
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  8. #8

    Talking duct tape

    hahahahahaha
    and that is all i have to say about that

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    Default Weld

    past the end of the crack, it's done all the time on boats....

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    Your information is interesting; I have a hard time believing some of it, but that just me, not knowing a lot about epoxy.

    If you are talking about welding the crack and not drilling out the end and not adding additional aluminum to add support, I agree.

    Sense the subject is aluminum trailers and most aluminum trailers are built with very thin aluminum and are known for cracking. You have to add additional support if you want the trailer to not crack.

  11. #11

    Default Crack location

    The problem with the cracks on the trailers is the location, it generally happens where the crossmembers cross over the main frame, the crosmembers are made out of thin gauge material and get there strength from there shape so the problem lies in the fact that you are re-welding very thin material and re-cracking at the edge of the weld is very often going to happen.
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  12. #12

    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    would stop drilling and then welding work? ....I've got some pretty nasty cracks in my trailer and have been looking to fix it....
    Nope. You can try acid washing, grinding, sanding or sandblasting the crack clean enough to get a good weld, but you can't do it. Fishplating is the preferred and really IMO the only way to do it right. Face it, if a crack has formed, it is obviously a weak point and one that flexes a great deal or has harmonic stress. Therefore, a weld is going to be a short term band-aid fix. The solution is to add strength to that location, without compromising the remainder of the structure. Aluminum has grain like wood, unlike steel. When fishplating, always run the grain in the opposite direction of the orginal framework. As far as epoxy, there is no way you can compare the stress of a trailer vs a boat. NO EPOXY for me, not on Alaska roads.
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    I weld them up all the time, then add some fishplates or gussets to bulletproof them, got one in the shop and fixing it up right now, it will be stronger than ever. I'll post some pics of the fix tommarrow. It will be in the buy and sell forum by the end of the week.
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    NO EPOXY for me, not on Alaska roads.
    It's that mentality that keeps welders in business, and I'm sure they appreciate the distrust of chemical bonds. Keep in mind that if you are riding in a newer mass produced aluminum boat or most new Boeing aircraft -- it's glued together in many spots. Personally I'd trust an epoxy that can handle 40% elongation than a weld that can handle 0% elongation when you're talking about rough terrain and constant flex. But I fully expect that most people will retain that old school attitude about welding for years to come.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
    It's that mentality that keeps welders in business, .
    What keeps me in biz is sending items out my door that are fixed correctly.
    I have delt with bonding agents that had issues then have to charge my customer more $$$ becouse of the added time to clean the gouk off, I suggest not to use it. The factories that use these agents usually rivit the seam together also
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironartist View Post
    What keeps me in biz is sending items out my door that are fixed correctly.
    I have delt with bonding agents that had issues then have to charge my customer more $$$ becouse of the added time to clean the gouk off, I suggest not to use it. The factories that use these agents usually rivit the seam together also
    I'm not slamming welders. Several people have noted that welding a crack in aluminum frequently fails and I offered another option that is frequently used by boat builders and aircraft builders already, and is not some experimental or temporary fix. I'm not advocating one over the other, and wouldn't have posted any additional comments except people seem to be making sport of my original comment posting it as an option and that indicates that they might be unaware of how frequently epoxies are used and in what markets. People trust their lives to it every day. In any case, I meant my post to add to the discussion in case anyone was unaware of structural bonders and that was all I intended. Have a great day.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    that settles it then...I'm going to stop drill it, acid wash, grind, sandblast, add some fishplates and gussets , apply epoxy, rivet, bolt through it, then weld it up....

    oh yeah, and finish up with a little duct tape.......my trailer isn't ever cracking again...
    ------------------------------------------------
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    that settles it then...I'm going to stop drill it, acid wash, grind, sandblast, add some fishplates and gussets , apply epoxy, rivet, bolt through it, then weld it up....

    oh yeah, and finish up with a little duct tape.......my trailer isn't ever cracking again...
    That ought to do it, alright!
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    It's the duct tape that will give it character

  20. #20

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    that settles it then...I'm going to stop drill it, acid wash, grind, sandblast, add some fishplates and gussets , apply epoxy, rivet, bolt through it, then weld it up....

    oh yeah, and finish up with a little duct tape.......my trailer isn't ever cracking again...
    Geeeezzz,
    I just hope we don't see it on the Buy and Sell Forum with IronA's. If so, they won't be hard to pick out.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
    ~~Abraham Lincoln~~

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