2021 Update on our Travel Supreme Cross Bracing post

I continue to be amazed at how many folks are affected by the dreaded Travel Supreme windshield issues!  We still get questions on a daily basis and we get a lot of Google traffic from people searching ” travel supreme rv problems “.

We got rid of our Travel Supreme Select 41DSO in 2013 when we were going to get shipped to Germany, so our information here is pretty dated.

If you’re thinking about buying of these coaches because of the high fit and finish quality at a low price point – DON’T.  We loved ours, but the constant worry isn’t worth it!

If you already have one – Precision Painting is the place to go if they’re still in business.  Get it fixed right the first time, and hopefully you’ll be good to go!

We moved from the Travel Supreme to a 40′ Tiffin Phaeton for a few years, then sold it when we moved to Germany in 2019, and now that we’re back to the States we picked up a little R-Pod 180 that we can tow behind our midsize SUV.

Jim & Colette


This the first post in a series of RV projects and upgrades, and likely the most helpful for other Travel Supreme RV owners. Travel Supreme RVs older than 2007 come with a well documented problem of the windshield occasionally popping out in the upper corners, or breaking entirely! Do a quick search for Travel Supreme RV Problems, and you’ll find page after page of discussions about this.

This is due to a design flaw that allows the RV body to flex too much, and the fix is to install cross-bracing between the frame rails and the lower crossbar of the body, commonly referred to as X-bracing.
Finished Brace
The finished brace before cleanup and painting

Think of an RV as a big long rectangular box. In a perfect world, this box stays perfectly rectangular. However daily driving, leveling the coach, rough roads, anything that twists the coach can cause this rectangular box to flex and turn into a parallelogram.

Since the windshield glass is rectangular and won’t flex, it ends up popping out of the housing or breaking when the window housing goes out-of-square along with the rest of the body. Not good!

When we purchased our coach, the windshield was completely popped out of the seal, with a 2” gap along the passengers side that we managed to seal down to about an inch and then covered with Gorilla Tape to make the 1700 mile drive with it from St Louis to Southern California.


Travel Supreme RV Problems Diagram



The ideal solution is to take your rig to Precision Painting in Indiana, I believe that they do the X-bracing for around $1000. They’ve had plenty of experience working on Travel Supreme RV problems and know the coaches inside and out.

But like lots of other folks, I couldn’t make it to Indiana, and started looking at shops between St Louis and Southern California who had already done this job on other rigs and could handle mine. Not much luck. The only outfit I found in Southern California who had done one before was Temecula RV, and they quoted me $6,900 for the job! Talk about ripping off your captive audience, I have seen the same thing before in the sailing world and wonder how many people just don’t know better and get taken for suckers. When I asked for a cost breakdown, the gentleman quoted me $1200 in parts – I know from pricing this out that the steel to do the bracing costs less than $250, and he couldn’t tell me what the extra “parts” cost was. Caveat emptor.

The concept behind the X-bracing is quite simple. Weld two upright braces between the frame rails and the lower crossbar of the body, and two crossbeams in an X pattern to keep the assembly square. The Spartan K-2 chassis is the same chassis that is used on transit buses and is ruggedly built with no flex in it at all. Since the frame doesn’t flex, this support should keep the body from flexing so much.

The devil is in the details though, and if not done correctly you could end up with a well-braced coach that isn’t square and still has windshield problems. This entails checking your coach for squareness and getting it square if it isn’t already.

You can click on any of the photos in this post to view them at full resolution on Flickr.

The steps at a high level

  1. Measure the windshield for squareness.
  2. Level the coach to get the windshield square.
  3. Disconnect electrical since we’ll be welding on the chassis which is a negative ground in the electrical system.
  4. Cut the carpet back to expose the lower crossbar.
  5. Measure frame-to-crossbar distance.
  6. Cut steel to fit.
  7. Measure diagonal braces and cut to fit.
  8. Weld diagonal braces into place.
  9. Weld steel uprights in place.
  10. Grind down any excess flash.
  11. Mask off areas around bracing to prevent paint overspray.
  12. Prime and paint X-bracing to prevent corrosion and keep that ‘factory’ look.
  13. Fold carpet back into place and cut out the squares where the uprights it.
  14. Re-adhere the carpet to the flooring with adhesive.
  15. Reconnect electrical.
  16. Stand back and enjoy having saved a boatload of money!

Now that we know the rough magnitude, let’s get started!


Square up the coach

I’m sure there are very scientific ways to do this, and it’s probably easiest with the windshield out. Since I just had my windshield put back into place, I’m going to be fairly unscientific and go old-school.

The idea is that if the diagonal distances from the upper left to bottom right and upper right to bottom left of the windshield are equal, then the body is square. I also measured from the corners to the corners of the divider in the center of the windshield.

You could probably use a tape measure to measure the distances, but I really don’t care what the distances ARE, I just care that they’re equal. For me, this works just fine with a long piece of string and a piece of tape.

Tape one end of the string (or have a helper hold it) above the upper left corner of the windshield, and run it down to the lower right corner. Mark where the string crosses the corners of the windshield with a Sharpie.

Now pull the tape off and repeat with the upper right and lower left corners, making sure that the Sharpie mark in the upper right corner is at the edge of the windshield.

If the sharpie mark doesn’t exactly touch the bottom left corner of the windshield, your coach is out of square.

If the mark is on the windshield, the top of your coach is tilted to the right. If the mark is on the gasket, it’s tilted to the left.

Use your levelers to get your coach square, where the mark aligns properly. I also put a level on both sides of the coach to measure vertical squareness when I finished, and they both showed the same level.


Note: If someone has a better method of doing this, please let me know!


Disconnect the electronics

Now that you have a square coach, let’s disconnect the electrical system. Welders use electrical current to actually do the welding, and we don’t want to take the chance of damaging anything.

If you are hooked to shore power, disconnect your shore power hookups.

If you have solar or wind charging, make sure you pull the fuses that connect your controllers to the batteries so there is no current flowing through.

Unhook battery cables. Make sure you take a couple photos with your digital camera and mark the cables so you know where everything gets put back!

Unplug sensitive electronics. Probably not necessary, but I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Cut The Carpet

Travel Supreme Carpet Cut
Cutting the carpet allows access to the lower crossmember that we’re welding the X-bracing to.

If you have slide-out trays, slide them out so you have unrestricted access to the area where you’ll be working. Otherwise remove everything from the general area so you have a clean area to work in.

You can find where the steel crossmember is below the carpet with a magnet, or by poking a thumbtack or small nail through the carpet. You’ll feel wood on both sides, and the steel down the center. Hang a plumb bob from the inside edge of the frame rail to determine where you’ll need to cut the carpet back. Mark this spot with your magnet, thumbtack, or a Sharpie. Now repeat on the inside edge of the other frame rail.

Now that you have two spots marked on your carpet, use a straightedge (yardstick, 2×4, level, whatever you have available) to mark a line through the 2 spots.

Draw a line 6” out from each end, this is where you will cut the carpet to.

Mark your line, and cut the carpet with a sharp utility knife or carpet cutter.

Mark and cut a perpendicular line at each end 8” long. This will allow you to peel the carpet back so the welder doesn’t catch it on fire or damage it.

Peel the carpet away from the subfloor, the adhesive that was installed at the factory is very sticky and you’ll need to tug firmly. Fold the carpet back and secure it out of the way. You should now have a bare area to work with consisting of only the lower crossmember and the subfloor.

Floor Welds

Travel Supreme Cross Bracing Floor Welds
This shot shows some of the size difference between the brace and the floor rail

Note that the crossmember under the flooring is only 1.5″ wide, we’re using 3″ x 3/8” wall square tube for rigidity but only the center 1.5″ of it will be welded to the crossmember. I don’t have any engineering data to prove that this is stiffer than using a 1.5” tube, but it makes sense in my head.  Apologies for the poor angle on the photo.

Remove Overhead Tray

Overhead Tray
This overhead tray holds up some miscellaneous wiring

If you have an aluminum tray screwed in between the two frame rails above your head, take this time to remove it. I don’t know if it’s in every coach, but I had one in mine.

Measure the frame to crossmember distance

Measure the vertical distance between the frame rails and the cross member. In my coach this measures 20″ exactly, but your dimensions may vary slightly. If one side is longer than the other, this means that your coach is still not square, and should be squared up before continuing.

Cut the uprights to fit

Cut the 3″ square tubing to fit between the frame rail and the subfloor crossbrace and test fit. This should be a snug fit. The only real tool to perform these cuts is a metal chopsaw. You could theoretically use a hacksaw, but it will take forever on thick-walled tubing and you risk a sloppy cut.

With a level, validate that your tubing is perfectly vertical.

Measure and cut diagonal braces

Travel Supreme Cross Bracing Center Bracing
The cross braces meet in the middle and are welded here

With the 3″ square tubing snugged into place, measure the diagonal distances between the top and bottom of each upright. This should measure 34.25″, but may vary slightly if there are variations in the manufacturing process. The distance for each diagonal needs to be the same to ensure squareness .
Cut the diagonal crossmembers to fit. You may find it helpful to test with wood rather than the steel, then use the wood as templates to cut your steel once the fit is correct.

Remove the uprights from the coach, and lay them out for welding. Tack-weld the diagonals to the uprights and check for squareness. Fit the entire assembly into the coach to ensure proper fit. If fit is correct, finish the welds.

Also weld the 2 diagonals together where they cross in the middle for additional rigidity.

You could alternately weld the two uprights into the coach, and then weld the crossmembers into place, but I think that this approach leaves more room for error when doing the placement.

Weld assembly into coach

Travel Supreme Cross Bracing Side Shot
A diagonal view of the finished brace

Fit the entire assembly into the coach, this should fit snugly. Weld to the frame rails, then to the bottom crossmember.

Final finish

Nice welds
Perfect welds

Once the welds are cool, grind down any excess slag from welding. You will also want to clean up the tan residue left from the welding process, and any oil or dirt on the steel that will get into the paint.

Prep and Paint

Mask the entire area off and prime and paint the crossbrace. You can use spray paint, or you can use a miniature roller brush. I actually brushed mine on and it looks fine from 5 feet away, but if I was doing it over I would use a roller brush.

Carpet Cleanup

Once the paint is dry, fold the carpet back to the brace, and cut out the 3″ sections necessary to fit it around the uprights.
Glue the carpet back down to the subfloor.

Notch and Reinstall Overhead Tray

Travel Supreme Overhead Support Tray Cut
There is an aluminum tray that hangs between the frame rails to support some hoses. You need to cut this notch in order for it to fit back into place with the cross braces in place.

Notch the overhead tray to fit around the 3” upright tubing as shown in this photo. The tray material is thin sheet metal, and can be cut with a hacksaw or tin snips down both sides.

It will take a bit of trial and error to get the notch deep enough without cutting it back too far. Fold the excess sheet metal into the upper section of the tray.

Finished Tray

Finished Tray
This is what the tray looks like fitted back into place and finished.

Reconnect your electronics

Reconnect your battery cables, referencing the labeling and photographs that you took earlier. Reconnecting the cables to the wrong terminals could have disastrous results!

If you pulled fuses for solar or wind power, put the fuses back in.

If you were running on shore power, reconnect your shore power.

Once everything is connected and you have power to the coach, reconnect your sensitive electronics.

Adult Beverages

Stand back, and congratulate yourself for saving a ton of money!

Update after several months of driving

It’s been several months and many miles since I completed this X-bracing, and no issues to date.

We’ve driven plenty of of bumpy California roads, twisty mountain roads up through Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and offroading on rough dusty USFS roads to our boondocking spots, and nary an issue.

There is still the usual creaking and groaning, but no windshield issues to report yet!

Another Brace Shot

Another Brace Shot
A view of the finished brace


Additional Updates – There’s more bracing!

Based on conversations that I’ve been having on several popular internet forums, this basement center brace is not the only work done by Bishop or Precision Painting.

They install a much larger lower frame rail along the length of the basement along the existing rail, and add diagonal braces between these.

More Travel Supreme RV Problems – The Rear Brace

Then the flimsy factory braces in front of the rear wheel is removed and a large bracket is fitted in it’s place. I actually added an additional upright brace in this same area when I noticed that the factory brace was cracked, but I didn’t include it in the blog post since I didn’t realize that this was part of the package. Photos of my bracket fix are here .

Rear Brace 1

Rear Brace 1
Additional rear bracing in front of the rear axle. The small diagonal brace that the factory put in was cracked, so I added the 1×2 rectangular tube running vertically to the frame rails.

Rear Brace 2

Rear Brace 2
Additional rear bracing in front of the rear axle. The small diagonal brace that the factory put in was cracked, so I added the 1×2 rectangular tube running vertically to the frame rails.

Rear Brace 3

Rear Brace 3
Additional rear bracing in front of the rear axle. The small diagonal brace that the factory put in was cracked, so I added the 1×2 rectangular tube running vertically to the frame rails.

Then an additional X-brace is added upright in front of the rear axle, and another X-brace upright behind the genset.

Thanks to Rick Crouch for the additional information, and the photos of the bracing on his rig. It definitely makes Bishop’s $1500 price tag start to look like a really good deal for the amount of time it takes!

Rick’s photos of Bishop’s full installation on his 45’ rig are here .

Hopefully, this post and photos will help you understand the most aggravating of all of the Travel Supreme RV problems – the dreaded windshield!

9 thoughts on “RV Project One: Chassis Cross Bracing

  1. Roaming,
    Article is well done. Had ours done in Indiana. My question is we had braces placed in the middle, front storage area and one in front of rear axle. This was done with Bishops oversight. We still have to watch where we go. I’m impressed you are boobdocking. We’ve. tired that but I don’t like resetting or replacing windshields. Glad your is working for you.

  2. Hey there Gary, thanks for the feedback.
    I didn’t even realize until today when I read something about Precision putting braces under the front seats that there was anything except the center brace. Perhaps when we’re back down in San Diego this winter I’ll take the time and put additional bracing in since it’s relatively easy and not terribly expensive. If I end up adding additional bracing, I’ll update the article with the additional steps and photos.

  3. From comments on various forums and Gary’s feedback above, it appears that there are also two additional X-braces that should be installed. One directly behind the generator, and one behind the basement in front of the rear axle.
    Stay tuned, I am researching these and will probably install them in the fall when we return to San Diego for the winter. More photos and writeup coming!

    1. can you send me the photo for the front one by the gen set thanks fred 45 ft. t.s.s.

  4. Hello Jim,

    I read your thread on IRV2 about your 2002 TSS and since I got a 2002 TSS 41DSO just recently I thought I would drop you a line to say hello and ask a few questions. Both the wife and I like the TSS we have and after spending about $6K on getting most of the faults corrected after delivery I have one BIG question about the water supply system. My wife complains about low water pressure in the shower. We replaced the hose and water sprayer but it continues to be low. The kitchen sink faucet has plenty of pressure and I have to turn the water down to keep the spray from getting on the counter. I have checked below and at the water supply center in the aft passenger compartment the distribution center looks okay. None of the switches is turned in any way and everything looks normal. Just now pressure in the shower. The 2002 41DSO didn’t come with an owners manual so I have played it by ear on most everything else but I don’t know where to go to get answers. The RV repair facility in San Antonio Texas just shook their heads and recommended the hose and new shower sprayer (didn’t fix problem).

    Sitting down in the shower and letting the sprayer dribble over you seems to be the best I can get.

    Any ideas?

    Jim King
    Edinburg, Texas


  5. I have given copies of your X Brace fix to 2 local “Truck/Motorhome” repair shops. Both refused to do any welding on the Frame like you show becuase they state “according to Welding 101 you don’t weld the top or bottom of a frame, only the sides”. However, after my rusty engineering background from years ago, I don’t understand how a X Brace in this location will keep my front Fibreglass cap from twisting, which is why the windowshield pops out. Is there a type of Brace more directly in the front of the Motorhome or have you heard about adding Fibreglass to the top cap to make it thicker, thereby stronger where strength is needed to solve the windshield popping out problem.

    1. This is true if you have a heat-treated frame, as welding to the frame alters the metallurgy. Nothing wrong with welding to top or bottom, as long as you have good penetration. TIG if you can. If you see welds anywhere on your frame, you can weld to it.

      I haven’t heard about adding fiberglass to the cap, but Bishop was putting a metal “halo” frame around the windshield to keep it in place, however that means taking the entire front cap off of the MH – serious money!

  6. im doing the x brace now i would like a info on were the one behine the gen. set goes thanks 2004 47 t.s.s we love the unit you can me at 772 285 3652

    1. Hi there Fred,

      I don’t have the brace behind the genset done yet, only the center bracing. There are a few people on irv2.com who have had the full bracing done, perhaps someone can share photos with all of us.

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