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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Posts
    304

    Default

    Right, wrong, my fault, their fault......no matter what the case, when things break on the road and someone is killed because a trailer crossed the center line, anyone (driver, owner, maintenance, builder, and so on) that had anything to do with a project is going to be in a courtroom for man slaughter (or worse, negligent homicide). One of the first things a good prosecutor is going to ask for is the engineering approval of a design. One needs to be able to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that their work is 100% or better. I'd rather rebuild a dozen customer's bumpers than the alternative...Just food for thought. SSS
    Last edited by SkidSteerSteve; 04-07-2007 at 06:25 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default broken trailer

    dont mean to be picky but it looks as though the cross angle was only welded to the trailer rail on one side (or i am missing something in the picture)

    also..the part of the tounge that is broke off is not bent (or not much) that would lead me to believe it is more than possable the weld pulled out first..putting all the strain on the other side witch then bent

    bottom line is..tounge should have twisted like a pretzle...your tounge had insufficient weld.

    no welds should pull out of the material..if they do..there was not enough weldment

    perhaps you needed more area to weld?...

    you could have brought your cross angle right to the outside of the rail...welded both sides and also brought your tounge to the outside of the rail..that would have gave you a lot more linear inches of weld?

    you got off lucky with not being in court..i believe

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vero Beach, fl.
    Posts
    761

    Default clarification of a few things

    First things first, The picture doesn't clearly show that the welds did not give. The angle iron on the frame ripped. Second item to note the tool box bent the tongue up on the right side bending the front crossmember, flexing it enough to pull several of the bolts through the planks. The angle on the right side of the frame if you look closely is also bent down and twisted and needs to be replaced. The front bulkhead of the trailer is also bent behind the tool box area. I have measured the trailer out and it is twisted about 3/4" out of square, not the frame but the upper rails. Now I am no engineer by any means but something had to give. If you put upward pressure on something the other end is going to want to go down. I had my girlfriend go back through the invoices and she found a total of 286 new trailers built by me and 90 some repairs in the last 4 years and only 3 comebacks for non construction related issues. As I stated earlier I am not an engineer, but put 16,000 pounds of rolling mass against something that is 880 pounds somethings going to give. I think my track record speaks for its self. In fact if you look at the majority of the utility trailers being built ( at least down here in Florida ) you will see it is quite common to use this method of construction. In fact there is several companies in Georgia that are building trailers with 2x2x1/8 frames and 2x3x1/8 tongues, I build with 2x3x3/16 frame and 2x3x1/4 tongue. And the final item to discuss is the owner wanted to take no responsibility in the damage done.
    That was my main point I was trying to get acrossed to you, He doesn't think his jack knifing the trailer had anything with ripping the frame. Dave
    If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

    John Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
    Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Billie, I was thinking along similar lines. Of course, its very difficult to discern every detail from the pictures, but it does look like there wasn't enough weld attaching the tongue to the rest of the trailer. I realize you may have built several hundred trailers in this fashion with no failures, but that doesn't mean there's isn't a flaw in the design. A lot of times failures aren't truly realized until situations such as this, where the welds and desing are really stressed. Obviuosly, they failed in this situation. Now, I am not removing responsibility from the owner, as he is at fault. However, given what I can see, it does appear that insufficient welds contributed to the problem.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    7

    Default broken trailer

    debar..i am not going to get into heated discussion over this..i agree with you that the owners ineptness was indeed the reason that caused the failure to happen ..but i also i was taught that the welded area of any material shoudl not "pull out" or "shear off" but either one piece or the other that were "joined" (in this case welded ) should break off somewhere between the "connection" (in this case, the weld) and where the extreme force that caused the failure was applie

    if you ran head on into a wall with your car and and your wife was wearing her seatbelt and it failed and she went through the windsheild and was hurt badly...wouldnt you think there would be a lawsuit against the car company for the seat belt not holding her in

    i am sure you build good trailers but like was stated earlier in this thread....liability does not end in "30 feet or 30 seconds" what ever comes first

    you put the storie and the photos in the thread for opinions...i have given mine and you can take from it any thing (or nothing) and will not try and stand up for you or against you any further

    work with pleasure

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Posts
    304

    Default why I'm so critical about tongues

    I've been in driving positions for the better part of ten years, most of which pulling trailers of some sort. Sometimes that was my full time job, or like now, it's just one of things I have to do. Over that time I've run everything from compact trucks with little utility trailers to Petes with 500hp 3406s and double/triples. Of all those miles the only two incidences I had were tongue failures on trailers while delivering new and nearly new "shop built" trailers on straight line road driving. Both of which ended up being design or workmanship flaws. Both times no one was hurt. The first one the trailer went right and only took out mailboxes. Fortunate, because there was on coming traffic. When we returned what was left of that one, the builder actually made the comment that that design "did it again, maybe we need to fix it". Gees! The second time, the builders (different ones, never hauled again for the other guy) of the trailer had to pay to repave a 100ft section of I-40 because the tongue on a 24' enclosed broke and the frame rails acted like a two bottom plow into the roadway. The trailer was the least of their worry at that time. I don't remember how many thousands the road cost. Just speaking from both ends of the spectrum on this one, not trying to cause arguments or anything else. Simply a case of agreeing to disagree on a topic. SSS
    Last edited by SkidSteerSteve; 04-08-2007 at 05:13 PM.

  7. #17

    Default

    Interesting discussion here.

    I have built allot of trialers myself and to this day it amazes me some of the things I see. you can not allow for all incidents where something can fail. We only try to do our best. I agree with some from both camps here. If the weld held but the metal pulled apart beside the weld, than I think their might have been a little to much heat when welding it which weakend the material ( possibly ). I can't see well enough from the pictures and its not for me to get that involved in the investigation but after reading all the post thought I would add my 2 cents worth. As stated when a heavy truck and a lighter trailer go up against each other, the truck will win everytime. Because the area that broke was close to the weld, does this mean it was poorly welded. I don't think so. Something was going to give and depending on the shear force and pressure points it could have happened just like it looks. We do not know the speed or any other facts to judge to accuratly. I have seen a trailer failure very similar and the tongue was torn off at the welds. Turns out the trialer was wiped around at higher speeds then when backing up to avoid an accident. The speed and acting force caused the metal to tear near the welds. No one could believe this can happen and after the investigation it was determined that the manufacture wasn't at fault. No one was hurt by the way. Also the tool box damage to me was very bad and a good indication. Thoughs tool boxs take allot of force to bend in like that on the corner, which is the strongest part on the box. Plus the box being mount as it was could have changed the tongues design and thus the acting forces. Another point here is, how much weight was in that tool box. tongues are not design for the most part to carry excessive weight. So many things can cause things like this to happen and we need to try and stay above water on it. Also allot of people who own trialers will over load them or load them incorrectly starting the failure process.

    Sorry for the long post, The one big point I think needs to be make here is that we as fabricators need to have a certain amount of blind luck as no matter what you build and how well you build it, their is always someone out there able to break it is a fashion thats hard to believe.
    Little Fabrication

    Miller DVI2
    Miller Dialarc 250 AC/DC
    Thermodynamics cutmaster 38
    HF 130 tig

    Third Class Power Engineer

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ocean City, Maryland
    Posts
    951

    Default

    I repair eqiuipment that are used by Linemen everyday. [electric utility workers] There can't be a harder on equipment work force anywhere. We always "over build" everything. I know that is hard when your bidding on a project but I have lost some jobs because I wouldnt do it the way they wanted. Also those machines in the picture and the tool box put a lot of weight on the tongue, vertically. I think the tongue should only have something like 10% of the load. Some of our trailers have 2000lbs of tongue weight which is alot. But then they are made of 12" I beam too. Good luck,
    Scott
    HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vero Beach, fl.
    Posts
    761

    Default more info

    I got a phone call from this guy's brother in law today, he was calling to place an order for his fifth trailer from me (nothing to do with other guy's business). At the end of the conversation he told me a few things that might put this to bed as to whether or not my welding or tongue design is sufficient. He said that he (the trailer owner) was having a disagreement with a client about his vending machines, client told him to get machines off of his property. He was already upset by losing a client and was using the clients fork lift to remove a machine from the loading dock and dropped it destroying a machine. Now he's really mad, finally gets the machine on the trailer and now he's blocked in by another delivery truck. Now he's even madder, he then tries to manuver through the parking lot where there was no way he could fit. now he's real mad and frustrated cause he can't get out. He finally gets to where he has a shot at getting out the gated parking lot, trying to angle the trailer to get it out he hit the fence post on the right rear corner, instead of pulling forward he tries to slide it off the edge of the post. Now take the trailer and wedge it against post, add 16,000 pounds of force to it and tell me again how it's my poor design or improper welding that caused the tongue failure. Also noted to me was that his brother in law was sited for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage (fence post and sliding gate and another vehicle hit by front bumper of his truck)). His insurance company is supposed to be out sometime today to appraise the damage, and mine has been notified as well. When I hear more from the insurance companies I will post their findings into the incident Dave
    If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

    John Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
    Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ocean City, Maryland
    Posts
    951

    Default

    wow. This guy shouldn't be driving!!! its always the same story. They tear it up and blame somebody else
    Scott
    HMW [Heavy Metal welding]

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