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Old 08-29-2016, 10:12 PM   #1
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42' Diesel Pusher possible bent frame, Help!

I have a 2000 Safari Serengeti. Last year Nov-Dec. 2015 we had a severe rain followed by snow. I park it on clay harder than my concrete driveway,really, and have for a couple of years. After the storms went by I went out and was going to flush the lines and get it ready for a short trip. It was sitting crooked. I shoveled the snow out of the way and it had sunk in the mud. The right rear had sunk so deep I couldn't get any cargo doors open, ice and water were even with the center of the DRW hub. The left side was not as deep it was only covering the tire up to the bottom of the wheel. The front wheels were sunk to about an inch or so below the rim of the wheel. It leaned to the right badly in the rear. The cargo doors 1,2, and,3 from the rear were sunk into the ground and could not be opened. The electric steps, a mid door, were bent out and up at an angle. The door itself was jammed. Both sides of the windshield were pushed out sideways so far I could stick my hand through the gap. I thought I could get it out myself but it just keep raining. I reported it to my insurance in december. I had to wait until late February to get a winch truck within a 100ft to pull it out. The insurance co had me drive it 67 miles to the rv repair shop. I had duct taped the windshields. It felt crooked while driving it. I felt like I had to adjust my seat and the rear was tracking to the left. The repair shop sent it to a frame shop. After 2 months of excuses from the frame shop they said the frame was straight and charged $100. Then it went to a diesel shop to inspect the bearings,etc because they had been under water so long. Since then, now Aug 2016, it has been at the rv shop. with no work done. The living room slid is off on the rear side by 1 1/2"+ The entire coach leans to the left, air bags full or not. When I dropped it off the service guy checking me in noticed an air leak around the rear where the air tank is for the air bags. Also a leak coming from the grey/black water drain at the tank. something was cracked. also the exhaust pipe from the engine in now oblong not round and the cargo doors are jammed because the pipe pushed up the bottom of the aluminum door frame. The large slide makes noise from the wood trim on the inside pressed into the side because it is unlevel. The left rear jack also sounds like it is leaking air. It Rv dealer has given insurance an estimate of almost 30k. Now the ins. adjuster is looking at it and says he doesn't see how all of these problems could be related. I really think the frame is bent. can anybody help me.
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Old 08-29-2016, 10:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishkc10boom View Post
I have a 2000 Safari Serengeti. Last year Nov-Dec. 2015 we had a severe rain followed by snow. I park it on clay harder than my concrete driveway,really, and have for a couple of years. After the storms went by I went out and was going to flush the lines and get it ready for a short trip. It was sitting crooked. I shoveled the snow out of the way and it had sunk in the mud. The right rear had sunk so deep I couldn't get any cargo doors open, ice and water were even with the center of the DRW hub. The left side was not as deep it was only covering the tire up to the bottom of the wheel. The front wheels were sunk to about an inch or so below the rim of the wheel. It leaned to the right badly in the rear. The cargo doors 1,2, and,3 from the rear were sunk into the ground and could not be opened. The electric steps, a mid door, were bent out and up at an angle. The door itself was jammed. Both sides of the windshield were pushed out sideways so far I could stick my hand through the gap. I thought I could get it out myself but it just keep raining. I reported it to my insurance in december. I had to wait until late February to get a winch truck within a 100ft to pull it out. The insurance co had me drive it 67 miles to the rv repair shop. I had duct taped the windshields. It felt crooked while driving it. I felt like I had to adjust my seat and the rear was tracking to the left. The repair shop sent it to a frame shop. After 2 months of excuses from the frame shop they said the frame was straight and charged $100. Then it went to a diesel shop to inspect the bearings,etc because they had been under water so long. Since then, now Aug 2016, it has been at the rv shop. with no work done. The living room slid is off on the rear side by 1 1/2"+ The entire coach leans to the left, air bags full or not. When I dropped it off the service guy checking me in noticed an air leak around the rear where the air tank is for the air bags. Also a leak coming from the grey/black water drain at the tank. something was cracked. also the exhaust pipe from the engine in now oblong not round and the cargo doors are jammed because the pipe pushed up the bottom of the aluminum door frame. The large slide makes noise from the wood trim on the inside pressed into the side because it is unlevel. The left rear jack also sounds like it is leaking air. It Rv dealer has given insurance an estimate of almost 30k. Now the ins. adjuster is looking at it and says he doesn't see how all of these problems could be related. I really think the frame is bent. can anybody help me.
WOW what a horrible story, my God!
I'm sitting here visualizing what this looks like and thinking what could this be. Being a Millwright by trade & have done a lot of fab work in my younger years I don't see how sinking in clay/mud would bend the frame. Bending would take a lot of brut force, or heat or severe impact IMHO. Now what does seem plausible to me is, I've watched several video's of how MH's are built. You probably have too. Each one of the walls usually are nothing but interlocking aluminum framing with the different layers of wood, insulation, fiberglass etc. applied to the outside. Then they are joined together to form a box and finished off with the ends caps & roof. Then they are stuffed with tons of equipment, furniture & other goodies. All this weighs a lot sitting ON TOP of the frame. Now what's plausible to me is, over time all this top weight slowly shifted to the sinking side throwing everything out of alignment. Slide rails, cabinets, plumbing hooked to things, flooring....you get the idea. This may be a bad example but kinda like a ship listing in heavy seas. It throws all the furniture around and stuff breaks inside...but the hull itself is fine. In your case this "listing" was a slow, gradual process that bent the interlocking walls, deformed the floor, rails and everything else the box is built of. Like you said, that mud pushed so hard that even your cargo doors won't open anymore. I think it's just that constant, slow, increasing pressure over time thru your box and everything in it out of plumb so to speak. That makes more sense to me than a bent frame.

Now I'm not DP guy and this may not work, but it seems to me you could, get your rig on a smooth level surface, make sure all your tires are pressured the same, let all the air out of your bags, and basically do everything you can to make sure your rig is sitting as flat as possible. Then go under the rig and measure the 4 extreme corners of the frame to the ground and see if that shows signs of a bent frame or not. Someone with more experience than I would know if this is a valid test or not.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:21 AM   #3
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Sad story hope your luck will change and soon.
Great response, Too.
Thanks for the great read,
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:38 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. My owners manual says improper leveling can cause the windshield to pop out and doors to jam. I doubt your frame is bent, but your house is probably misaligned due to the twist put on the frame when it sank into the clay.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:59 AM   #5
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The frame is likely straight....body not so much.

Imagine picking up your unit with a very large flat hand touching everything except the wheels.

These forces are pushing up on things with forces well beyond what is designed for and in the opposite direction.

The frame is designed to twist as it travels down the road as is the body.

If the body gets bent up then it can apply a twisting force on the frame that may effect how it performs while on the road.

We would suspect a certian amount of damage was added during extracting the unit as other forces were applied to get it up and out.

Broken valves and air leaks can wreck havoc on the system.

Our soil is concrete hard clay in summer that you cannot touch with normal stuff but come a wet winter turns into mush.

You have learned the hard wsy...hopefully others may learn from your situation that a good surface under the wheels is important.

Ours was a neighbors unit and stored in side yard.

Poured concrete landing pads just where axles were for this very reason.
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:28 AM   #6
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My thoughts are along the lines as TQ60. I suspect when the wheels sank into the earth the body sides contacted the ground and twisted the coach shell. The frame guys might have noticed if they looked a bit higher to the house mounts but they were probably focused on the chassis. Maybe an RV inspector might be a better option to take a look rather than the specialists who focus in on one area. Give the model year I suspect insurance might write the coach off considering the extent of damage.
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:43 AM   #7
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What does your insurance adjuster have to say? It has been a long time since the MH was taken to the shop. The insurance company may say it is totaled if the estimate to repair is too high. Yes, the insurance company adjuster should prepare an estimate if the place you took it cannot come up with one in a reasonable amount of time.

Get on the phone to your agent and be persistent you need this taken care of.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:35 PM   #8
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If your insurance adjuster is questioning how all the problems could be related then I think if I were in your shoes I'd hire a professional motorhome inspector who could look at it and tie all the issues back to it sinking in the mud and present the findings (hopefully in a written report) to your insurance company.

If they still drag their feet on a repair or write off because of the cost, then a letter to them from an attorney may speed up the process for you. I know it can suck going the legal route, but sometimes playing nice results in a lot of wasted time. I've used an attorney twice in situations where I felt I was being wronged and taken advantage of, and as soon as the other party gets a certified letter in the mail from your lawyer you are suddenly their best friend.

I know this much ... 6 months is way too long to still be waiting for a resolution to your problem. Id be calling the insurance company everyday asking for an update, and making notes on when I called and what I was told by whom.

Please let us know what happens!


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Old 08-30-2016, 01:01 PM   #9
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My old Coachmen has a trim strip attached to the floor framing on both sides (through the walls). The floor framing is constructed of 1" square steel tubing. If my floor framing were bent it would be pretty easy to site down this strip on both sides and tell if it were bent.

I looked at some pictures of your model and it appears that you may have something similar at the floor level (about 3' up just above the cargo doors). It sounds as though the way it was sitting could have given the body a twist, and if that is the case, then when siting down both sides you would probably see that on the front and rear one side is bent down and the other up. Alternatively, you could stretch a string along each side and see if the walls are still flat. You could also use a level and see how much variation in plumb there is. Or... park on a level pad with a constant frame height all around, you could measure from the ground to the floor and see if there is any variation. If its twisted, I would think repair would be next to impossible.

Good luck and God bless.
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:00 PM   #10
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Like other posters I would bet money (mine) the frame is not damaged. I don't suppose you took any pictures you would like to share? In order to view something so terrible I would have to cut a hole in an empty shoe box and peer through only taking in a glimpse. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you that this works out the way you want. Good thoughts!
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Old 08-30-2016, 07:59 PM   #11
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I will try to post some pics

This is after we tried digging out.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:17 PM   #12
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I work in the insurance industry, specifically on the underwriting side and see all types of claims regarding property damage. If you feel the insurer is not treating you appropriately send the adjuster a letter or email in writing suggesting they are acting in "bad faith" based on their promise to pay for these type of situations. Depending on the jurisdiction you reside the allegation of " bad faith" can potential impact the insurer 10 fold or more that of the actual damages. Trust me it will help motivate a settlement.


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Old 08-30-2016, 08:18 PM   #13
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Sorry a couple of pics are sideways. See how much it leans to the pass side, now it leans to the driver's side. Just looking at the wheel wells on the rt side there is about 2 inches between the top of the tire and the edge of the wheel well. On the left the tire is up in the wheel well front and back.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:54 PM   #14
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Yes, I was really surprised at the adjusters change. Absolute 180. He had been to my house when the mh was here and took pics. He took pics after I drove it to the dealer. He seemed very proactive calling the dealer repair shop at least a couple of times a week and calling me to see if I knew what was going on. He said he was going to stay on them until they did something. He says he went to the shop several times because he had other rv's there. He even told me the service manager told him they needed more business because the added onto the shop. I am pulling my hair out. I don't understand their purpose in dragging their feet
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