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Old 07-24-2014, 05:16 PM   #1
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Cracks In Norco/BAL "A" Frame - 2013

Hi There!

Just got back from a 2800km trip from Edmonton, through Whistler BC, Okanogan, Sushwaps and home.

When I parked my trailer back at my shop I noticed the checker plate protection on the front was kinda bent or twisted, I didn't think much of it maybe a broken screw or released seal, no big deal rite?

Upon further inspection I found that it was twisting and was actually had broken metal on the A Frame I think is what it is. It appears now that the front wall has started to come delaminated and the floor has separated.

When I put the trailer on the truck, if I bounce on the hitch you can see the trailer actually roll towards the spare tire in the centre, you can see the inside storage compartment actually flex when looking inside!

Has anyone else experienced anything like this on a Norco/BAL frame?

I contacting BAL to see if they've heard of this before, they mentioned it tends to happen in Canada because of our bumpy roads. Why would they sell these frames in Canada then?

It's still under warranty thankfully, just makes me nervous.

-Rob
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:17 PM   #2
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Probably doesn't help that some moron at the factory put a zip screw through the thin section on the bottom of the frame rail in picture 2 & 4
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:45 PM   #3
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RobAllen,

Welcome to JOF

I haven't heard of any frame issues recently, but I would get it to your dealer ASAP. On the way to the dealer it may be of interest to weigh the TT at a CAT scale.

Bob
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rustic Eagle View Post
RobAllen,

Welcome to JOF

I haven't heard of any frame issues recently, but I would get it to your dealer ASAP. On the way to the dealer it may be of interest to weigh the TT at a CAT scale.

Bob
Thanks Bob!

I had it at the dealer today, they said they've seen it before and I should be good to continue to use it until the end of the season. I had a friend drive beside me and take some video down the highway. When it bounces you can see the propane tank cover touches the front of the cabin of the trailer. The cover always sits pretty close but you can see it move here.

Being an aluminum framed cabin you wouldn't think it would flex like that? Maybe it's just an illusion in the video? Or is it designed to do that to act as a cushion somehow?



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Old 07-25-2014, 12:31 AM   #5
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There shouldn't be any movement between the A-frame and the main frame, and there appears to be some "flexing" in the videos......, which is confirmed by your prior pics.

Not right, not safe.

Bob
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:09 AM   #6
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I don't care what the dealer says, I would be leaving that at the dealership and having it replaced ASAP. That looks horribly dangerous. The constant flexing is just going to weaken the rest of the connection. I'm a little surprised that it isn't welded, just bolted...
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:16 AM   #7
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I used to have a Lance trailer with a Bal Norco frame. I only had one problem with it where a rivot came out allowing a corner to sag. This was at a rear stabilizer. It was remedied by dealer by putting a bolt through the hole left by the missing rivot, but solved the mystery of how I managed to get a crack in the ceiling. The whole "box" flexed, sort of a unibody concept. If you google bal norco frame problems there used to be many, Jayco, Kodiak and others as I remember it. You never say which trailer you have.
One thing that I worried about with this frame was not being able to jack it up at the frame. I had to have all of the tires replaced under warranty on the Lance and took it to Costco who carried the Green Ball brand and I'm about 99% certain they did just that. I say this because the next time I was in for a single tire replacement I had to stop the guy from doing that, suggested he just run the trailer up on a block and he said he wasn't allowed to do it that way. So then I wondered if that shop jacking up the trailer caused the rivet to fail, which then caused the box to flex (even more so when I'd run the stabilizers down) which manifested itself in the crack in the ceiling.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:27 AM   #8
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I don't care what the dealer says, I would be leaving that at the dealership and having it replaced ASAP. That looks horribly dangerous. The constant flexing is just going to weaken the rest of the connection. I'm a little surprised that it isn't welded, just bolted...
I agree, that looks dangerous. Ford's model A frames (1928-1931) were riveted and not welded to allow the frame to flex. A welded frame would have cracked and fallen apart.
That may be the thought behind your frame (or it could just be cheaper to bolt it together).
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:29 PM   #9
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It's difficult to see in the video but the actual frame is not flexing and there are no signs of anything moving on the actual frame of the trailer. It's just the front stabilizer that flexes right in the middle near the propane tanks. The issue sounds similar to Cosmik Debris rear stabilizer however it wasn't the Huck-Bolt that gave way it was actual metal fatigue.

Either way I called the dealership again today and canceled my weekend plans. They said to bring it back Monday and they will give it a thorough once over and get the process rolling with Jayco for a repair.

Re assuring that Bal/Norco said Jayco has experience with this type of failure so they hopefully know what to do to properly repair it.

My next concern would be if the front has come delaminated. Should the complete wall including the bend near the propane tanks be 100% solid or is there some softness near the round?

Of course now that I push on it, it does flex and I don't remember if it did that before or not.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:42 AM   #10
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I have 2006, 24 octane, and I have had problems in the same area you are. have no idea who made the frame but the sheet metal front structure has cracked in every place that they put a weld exctpt for where it met the I beams. We found the issue when in whitehorse YK on holidays. I put a temp patch on the main A frame where it cracked but the damage was done. the front structure is finished as is the the 2x6 .125 HSS tube.

it has also done in the shover inside and because of the bouncing from the cracked HSS it has scrubbed off the 2 tires on the oppisite side of the cracked A frame.

I have finished removing the A frame and the front structure and have built a new A frame and front structure from stronger HSS (3x5x.250 wall) as well as used a piece of 9" channel as the replacement for the front structure.

I know we are a first world country, but many cities, (like EDMONTON) have third world roads.

As a steel fabricator I looked at it this way. This was this trailers last chance, and If these fixes dont work, find a lake lot to put it on.. i feel any other way it would be a write off. I do belive that the frames are made too small, but it is what it is, and I cant change that now.

I hope all of this work pays off. I have lost half of my summer fixing this issue all ready.


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