Friday, December 15, 2006

The Score, Camper 1, Storm 0 (12-15-2006)

This was originally posted back in December 2006 to the RV.Net forums, where I posted alot of my travel tales over the years. Now, I'm adding them to this blog, which will house my travels going forward into the future and any other related posts, such as projects on the camper and such.

For those that live in the PNW, you know that we got the living shit beat out of us last night with a windstorm.

My trusty KIT was doing its winter hibernation out at a friend's farm further up into the Coastal mountains of Oregon. For the majority of the night, the camper didn't budge. That was up till one gigantic gust, from the sounds of it, somewhere probably up in the hurricane range of damned close to 100 mph.

My KIT was resting on cement blocks under the jack pads and cement blocks under my stacker jacks under the floor. WAS being the key word here.

Wind swung the front end down hill 2 feet lifting the front jacks off their perches and tipping the stacker jacks over. The front legs dug into the ground after going a foot in the air and sank themselves about 2-3". The rear end lifted up as the stabilizers under the floor twisted, leaving it perched on the dug in front jacks and the twisted rear stabilzers.

Fortunately, I had a few favors left over upstairs and promptly used them up right then and there. Camper remained perched like this the rest of the night till I could come out this morning and use a 3 ton car jack to hoist it out of the dirt.

The damage?

I'm going to need to drill out the front lag bolt holes in the passenger side jack and redo them, but the mount was still stuck strong enough to support the camper (Thank God I had just reinforced those with an injection of Polyurethane glue into a couple bolt holes) while I redid its foundation and now it rests upon a solid concrete foundation under the floor. There is zero wiggle now in the camper as all the weight is being directed down through its foundation of concrete instead of four spindly corner jacks and some stabilizers.

Yeah.... I hate the wind now.


Well, on the 31st of December on a very cold day, I finally got back to my poor camper to get the jack assembly off.

The good news is there's no splitting or damage to the corner material, the corner, made from 1x3s took no damage other than having some very crappy SCREWS pulled out of it. These things weren't even lag bolts. In a sense, the storm did me a big favor by shifting the camper and causing these screws to start letting go with it near the ground instead of some point later on with the camper up the air while loading.

You can see where the camper getting drug along the ground made the bottom screws pull loose from the wood, breaking my rather messy caulking job. The bottom screw I had removed prior to taking the picture to see what was holding everything together.

While I'm certain the planned upgrade ot 5/16" lag bolts and glue in every hole would maybe have been sufficient, I don't want to take any chances, so the corner bracket is at my welder buddies place getting some more metal added to it so that we can tie into the underside of the wing in addition to the existing holes.

Till my new beefier corner bracket is done I've sealed the holes and the seam in the two parts of the skin over with some heavy duty aluminum tape. I'll be cleaning the whole area up after the new bracket is done for the application of new butyl tape and re-installation of the bracket.