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Old 10-23-2019, 02:29 PM   #1
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Glacier Peak F26RKS Broken Frame

The frame on our 2016 ORV Glacier Peak F26RKS 5th wheel recently broke near the pin box and the unit began separating from the truck. We are concerned that our unit perhaps should have been included in a previous recall for similar units with a similar problem. In a NHTSA Safety Recall Report titled “Fifth-Wheel may Separate from Tow Vehicle”, ORV recalled the 2015-2016 Glacier Peak F26RLS, the 2015-2015 Glacier Peak F27BHS, and the 2015-2017 Glacier Peak F28RKS for a similar problem. Our unit was not included in that recall.

This recall cited “a pin box that may flex resulting in metal fatigue and possibly the separation of the fifth-wheel trailer from the tow vehicle”. On our unit, there was one complete break in the frame across the front where the pin box is attached, and the frame partially tore at 5 other locations across the front. The fix for the affected models was “Adding additional 2 x 6 7 gauge tube steel while replacing the 11 gauge tube steel between the pin box and chassis structural frame; Welding gusset plates to both the outside and inside front chassis frame channel”. As an ongoing fix ORV stated “In the current production process, ORV has made the change to now installing 7 gauge tube steel to strengthen the chassis pin box frame… ORV also has added additional gussets that are to be welded at key structural joints on the upper fifth-wheel chassis frame. All future fifth wheel builds beginning August 1, 2016 will be produced with the changes to increase the tube steel to 7 gauge, as well as adding the support gussets to the upper chassis frame”.

Our unit was manufactured in June 2016 and does not have either the 7 gauge steel nor the gussets.

ORV’s position is that the break was caused by the weight of a generator (and gas tank) the dealer installed in the front compartment. However, the unit was well within the gross vehicle weight rating as well as pin weight specification. I can’t see how it matters what’s in the front compartment. Weight is weight. If the weight ratings are adhered to, the frame should not break. Specifically, our trailer weight was 12,420 lb which is well under the 12,995 GVWR and our pin weight was 2,460 lb which is 19.8% and dead center of the recommended 15% to 25 % noted in the manual.

ORV also asserts that placing a generator in the front compartment is a structural modification. I disagree. To accept this argument would require me to accept that putting potatoes in the front compartment is also a structural modification.

Our obvious concern is there may be a broad structural/engineering flaw with our 5th wheel model that may put other travelers at risk. This was a very dangerous situation. But, with that being said, there is another potential cause of our frame breakage. There was a bad (effectively missing) weld at the primary point of breakage on our unit. Specifically, the primary point of breakage was a joint with two welds – one on the front of the joint and one on the back. The weld on the back missed the joint by about 1/8th of an inch. Effectively, the weld on the back side of the joint was missing. ORV acknowledges the bad/missing weld but their position is the joint would be sufficiently strong without it.

With all this being said, it would seem clear that the frame breakage was either caused by the bad (effectively missing) weld at the primary point of breakage, or from an engineering flaw, or a combination of both.

In full disclosure, in settlement, Glacier Peak has offered up a sum of money which would be matched by the dealer (for their negligence in installing the generator in the front compartment), the total of which would cover about half the cost of repair (including the damage to our truck where the trailer sat down on the bed). We have rejected this offer (at least in part) because it does not address the public safety issue - which we have made clear to Glacier Peak is our first concern. Also in full disclosure, we have not asked Glacier Peak to reimburse us for any ancillary costs beyond the pure cost of repairs (e.g. costs incurred during the 13 days our unit was in the repair facility in Raton, NM)
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Old 10-23-2019, 02:33 PM   #2
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F26RKS Frame Broke

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Old 10-23-2019, 02:34 PM   #3
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WOW sounds like a crock of ....
Always heard ORV was quality may have to rethink that....
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Old 10-23-2019, 03:18 PM   #4
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The first pic almost looks like the weld didn't penetrate both sides or the weld was too hot and cut too deep in the steel allowing it to tear.
Should've been gusseted. A flat plate spanning the connection would've been very stout.
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Old 10-23-2019, 04:38 PM   #5
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What does the generator weigh that you put in the front storage bay? I carry our champion 3100 in there, might need to stop that now.
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Old 10-23-2019, 06:21 PM   #6
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An LP 5500 Onan weighs 279 lbs.
An LP 3600 Onan is 179 lbs.

Not a lot of weight but considering that a pair of Honda 2000's is 100 lbs. How would another 179 lbs really do that much damage?

What about the guy that put 4 GC batteries @65 lbs each plus a Honda 2000W gen in the front?

I did.

Thats 300+ lbs. I had plenty of other heavy stuff as well.

I did that with my Fox Mountain and had zero issues in the 5 years I loaded it like that.

ORV simply dropped the ball on this.
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Old 10-23-2019, 06:58 PM   #7
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That’s [Mod Edit]. Agree with Cumminsfan, looks like to hot of a weld and undercut the parent metal. So OVR has recall on the 28rks but not in 26rks? With you being under load capacities I can’t see how they can say your generator caused this damage.. that’s crap..even if the dealer would have welded to the lower part of the framing inside your storage for the generator wouldn’t cause this.. they TOTALLY [Mod Edit]THE BED. Have you talked to a lawyer?

I have to wonder How many other units are out on the road with this potential issue. There’s ways to make that area much stronger... but it’s all hindsight now.

Good luck, keep us posted. Glad there was no injuries or worse.

[Mod Edit]
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Old 10-24-2019, 12:09 AM   #8
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I am not a professional structural engineer in RV frame building. If this issue is going any further best you get some expert advice....and I don’t mean free expert advice or comments from the forum..as you know we all think we are experts in some way or another.
It could be many things that caused the failure.

Glad your all safe..that’s the main thing.

The only person who is going to be happy is the lawyer you hire.

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Old 10-24-2019, 09:24 AM   #9
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F26RKS Frame Broke

The generator is a Onan 6kv diesel. We live in Phoenix where 2 A/C's are a must. The weight is 420 lb. The gas tank adds another 130. It's heavy but still well within specs for GVWR and pin weight. Seems to me if you are within specs the frame should not break. Am I wrong?

The generator was installed by the dealer. They welded supports beneath it.

A weld was effectively missing from the back side of the broken butt joint. It was a nice enough bead but missed the seam by about an 1/8th of an inch. ORV acknowledges the bad weld but says the joint strength was nevertheless sufficient.

The 80+ year old man who ran the shop that did the repairs had decades of experience up under every kind of trailer ever made - horse trailer, whatever. His firm belief was that the steel ORV used was too light to the task. I do a bit of welding and metal work and tend to agree. Also there are sections where channel was used that he felt should have been tube stock. There's a lot of leverage on the nose of a fifth wheel - especially when you run over those expansion joints on bridges. They welded angle iron scabs on all the inside joint faces and then added a thick gusset across the bottom of each joint.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:37 PM   #10
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Recall

This thread started long ago (2016), as detailed above but is obviously still relevant. We have a 2016 F28RKS that had a recall and was sent back to to La Grande for frame upgrades (and a newer cap) while still sitting on the retail lot.
I confirmed that the recall was done...no problem there. Now reading a couple threads on this today, I'm wondering if other ORV 5th wheel owners notice a very mild flexing of the pin box/frame attachment, as they go down the road and over significant bumps, railway tracks etc. Anyone with a 28' 5th who can shed some light on what you are seeing?
Cheers
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:46 PM   #11
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We have a 26RKS and have noticed no issues as of yet (knock on wood). We do use a trailer saver air hitch, which probably cushions the connection between the TV and the 5er.
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Old 10-25-2019, 04:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altaclipper View Post
This thread started long ago (2016), as detailed above but is obviously still relevant. We have a 2016 F28RKS that had a recall and was sent back to to La Grande for frame upgrades (and a newer cap) while still sitting on the retail lot.
I confirmed that the recall was done...no problem there. Now reading a couple threads on this today, I'm wondering if other ORV 5th wheel owners notice a very mild flexing of the pin box/frame attachment, as they go down the road and over significant bumps, railway tracks etc. Anyone with a 28' 5th who can shed some light on what you are seeing?
Cheers
Glen
I no longer own my 28rks but after my recall work in 2016, I noticed the gap between the inbox and bottom of the cap had a lot less movement while looking back in the rear view mirror.
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Old 10-26-2019, 08:28 AM   #13
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F26RKS Frame Broke

We filed a complaint with the NHTSA a few days ago. The complaint number is 11270424.
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickeoni View Post
We have a 26RKS and have noticed no issues as of yet (knock on wood). We do use a trailer saver air hitch, which probably cushions the connection between the TV and the 5er.
It wouldn't hurt to keep an eye on it.

Armstrong hatches aren't' cheap but they are waterproof and all they need is the hole cut.

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