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  #1  
Old 05-04-2002, 03:29 PM
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Denny_A Denny_A is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Greenville, WI
Posts: 522
Default Shell latch "bracket" problem

Home at last. Thank G_d, we're home at last

We just finished our second trip, and have logged 5700 miles since Mid-March. I thought a herd of snorting, stomping Brahma bulls, on the other side of a fence in a Texas campground, would be the unexpected problem this trip. They weren't too keen about my "big" dog. Dog wanted at 'em! Not a problem. Dog changed his mind when they charged (a bluff, I think) the fence. We all retired to our respective corners. ;D

I could go on and on about how great the TM tows (no anti-sway device). I've been thru wind and rain storms and hail, with incredible crosswind gusts. I now have a "crinkled camper" which resembles a titlist above the front window awning.

But, I digress. I have had a rather "bothersome" problem occur. Discovered the problem at setup Thurs, the last overnite, with 400+ miles to go to reach home.

The curb-side, front shell, black-handled, hook-release latch was tenuously grasping a dangling "shell bracket". There being no connection, latch-to-shell, the forward shell was raised 6 to 8 inches above the aft shell. I could almost read the time on the clock from outside.

The 2 inch long sheet metal bracket-attachment screws had pulled out of the shell and left behind somewhere between Branson, MO and Litchfield, Ill (I was, too). I called my dealer, but no help. The TM factory was already vacated for the day. So, I was on my own.

Here's a QUESTION for anyone. If you've removed on of those brackets from the shell, how many drilled holes have you found on the bottom surface of the shell? Since there are 2 machine screws, with combo hex-head and straight-slots for tightening, I expected to find 2 drilled holes. After pulling the screws on the rear shell bracket, I found 4 drilled holes. Seemed to be spaced so that the bracket could be positioned in any of three positions, fore-to-aft. QUESTION: Can anyone confirm this for me? Maybe an unsupervised trainee was doing the assembly. Maybe that's the standard to aid proper alignment during assembly.

The failed bracket area had "8"  > holes drilled. Two sets were so close together that the thin sliver of metal separating them tore thru, the screw let loose, and the other screw worked until it enlarged its drilling. Wham - gone.

My trailer is a brand new 2002 - never worked on (I know the  dealer is not whacko and does NOTdelight in impractical jokes), so it seems logical to assume that the trailer was manufactured that way.

A closer look at the same bracket, aft shell opposite side, revealed that it was slightly off-alignment, fore-aft. So, I backed the screws out and... (good guess)... there were extra holes, the aft hole the screw came from is drilled immediately inboard of another, as if to salvage an error.

After a mad scramble to Jerry Rig the trailer, we made it home w/out incident. Luckily a large hardware store, which carried an amazing array of machine screws, had some 1/4-20 x 2" screws. The thread count was wrong, but it actually worked to my advantage. I was able to use a pair of relatively intact drilled hole; the screws made their own fit thru the existing threads. THe 2" length allows (I think) the screw to thread across and into the other side of the square, hollow aluminum beam which forms the bottom edge of the shell. The salvage job got us home. Amazingly the screws did not loosen one iota.

Howsomever - the TM folks has some 'splaining to do on Monday.

There were a few other "fire-in-my-eyes" irritants during the hell (Texas)-and-back trip just completed. More posts to follow.


Denny_A __(10,000 BTU's was a blessing for record
                heat in Houston)
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2002, 11:32 AM
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Default Re: Shell latch "bracket" problem

Based on my observations at the TM factory:

Holes are drilled using an air-powered drill and 2 self-tapping screws secure the striker.  Obviously, they had some problems getting everything aligned the first or second times.

Understand in making 1-2 TMs per day this would not be an automated or even fixtured operation.  Trial and error happens although the swiss cheese look on your unit seems excessive.

Sounds like your oversize screws did the trick.
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  #3  
Old 05-05-2002, 04:30 PM
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Denny_A Denny_A is offline
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Default Re: Shell latch "bracket" problem

joeber wrote:

>Holes are drilled using an air-powered drill and 2 self-tapping screws secure the striker.  Obviously, they had some problems getting everything aligned the first or second times.<

That's what I figured. Some sort of template would be secured to the frame, the drilling accuracy (angle of entry) being dependent on operator skill.

I have a huge problem with a company letting such an obviously botched job pass "QA" inspection. Possibly the assembler knew the errors couldn't be detected by inspectors with the striker bracket installed! Then it reverts to individual accountability.


Denny_A
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  #4  
Old 05-06-2002, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: Shell latch "bracket" problem

Well Happytrails recently reported the cost of a new front shell at $8,000.  So the factory is not going to scrap a front shell because of some mis-drilled holes.

However, I'm would also bet that the person responsible for the quality inspection wasn't aware of this condition, as you stated.



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  #5  
Old 05-06-2002, 12:35 PM
KB7OUR
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Default Re: Shell latch "bracket" problem

Heck, I'm going to bring some tools in when our TM is ready to pick up so that I can do some quality inspections for this problem. Any other suggestions of what I should look for before I drive it off the lot?

Wade
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2002, 12:35 PM
KB7OUR
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Default Re: Shell latch "bracket" problem

Heck, I'm going to bring some tools in when our TM is ready to pick up so that I can do some quality inspections for this problem. Any other suggestions of what I should look for before I drive it off the lot?

Wade
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  #7  
Old 05-07-2002, 05:45 AM
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Denny_A Denny_A is offline
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Location: Greenville, WI
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Default Re: Shell latch

Follow-up to latch bracket problem.

I talked to J. Davis. After some discussion, he went to confab w/someone else, then called me back.

Though not stated explicitly, I believe, from the tone of our discussion, this is a "unique" problem - not reported to TM before. It is thought that it was, assuming my info is accurate (it is), that a worker may have done the deed and not reported it. QA would not catch it on final inspection, due to the bracket hiding the extra drilling.

TM will make it good if I can a) get the trailer to Lake City (can't/won't) or b) if I find someone locally who can make the repair. If I get a written estimate and send it to them, TM would pay me directly. Probably about $8000 to build a new shell? ;D

As usual (based on other posts in the Forum), TM stands behind its product. I am, at this point, satisfied with the response.

I'm going to borrow my daughter's digital camera - show TM the grizzly details, and this Forum as well.


Denny_A
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  #8  
Old 05-07-2002, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Shell latch "bracket" problem

You might:

Ask the factory to weld a pair of strikers each to an approx. 3" long metal bracket with holes and paint.  Or you could have this done locally in a manner so these plates clear the existing misc. screws which hold things together.  These new holes will get you virgin material for sure and provide a stronger anchor than the original.

Have your local dealer or someone capable to reinstall and adjust the latches for the added material thickness.

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  #9  
Old 05-07-2002, 05:31 PM
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Denny_A Denny_A is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Greenville, WI
Posts: 522
Default Re: Shell latch "bracket" problem

I posted about 5 pictures of my Receiver Bracket problem - they're in the TrailManor pictures section. You can't imagine until you look.

Only ONE set of drillings is up to snuff. The worst set looks as if the assembly person was on ecstacy.

Here's me just before retirement. Sure miss those Ravens.
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> Just kidding. It's me, but only some of it. Y'all 'll hafta guess.
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2002, 05:33 PM
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Denny_A Denny_A is offline
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Location: Greenville, WI
Posts: 522
Default Re: Shell latch "bracket" problem

:-[ . Oops, forgot to arttach!
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