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Old 08-15-2009, 03:56 AM   #1
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Fifth wheel chassis construction

I am considering purchasing a used 2006 Newmar Cypress 32rlks. I currently have a Forest River Wildcat that recently developed a "stress crack" at a corner of the bedroom slide frame area. This has caused me to be concerned about the structural strength of any coach I purchase. The Cypress, which weights about 12,800 dry, has a 12 inch I-beam chassis. I understand that Cameo uses a box tube chassis, and Mobile Suites uses a stacked box tube chassis. Mobile Suites brags about the strength of their chassis. QUESTION - Is a 12-inch I-beam strong enough for frame construction of a 12,800 pound coach? Are there any Cypress owners out there who have had any problems with the chassis on their coach?
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:17 AM   #2
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Our fiver the bedroom slide has cracked twice but it not due the 12 inch I beam. The bedroom slide was the problem. The first time it was not installed right and the second due to a leak in the seal. The seal leak caused the floor to go bad and the slide to sink and ride on the side wall. Both times I took it back to Northwood Virginia. A 12 inch I beam is better than most use. I see a lot of 10 frames on fivers. I am looking at a Cameo 34ck3 with a 12 inch boxed frame and they make their own frames.
Tom
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:51 AM   #3
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That new of a trailer should not have cracks in the corner of the slide in my opinion. Sounds like a potential frame problem.

Oh and welcome to iRV2.

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Old 08-15-2009, 10:25 AM   #4
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There are many many factors that go into the design of a frame. Not just the height of the frame rails. 12 inch "I" beams come in a wide variety of weights (thickness) and each one has it's own set of support data. There is no pat answer to your question.
All I can tell you is that on the various forums I am a member of you do not see many complaints with Newmar products. BUT they are extremely heavy and you will probably need to rethink your truck requirements before purchase to be sure you do not over load the TV.
One last thing. "dry" or "unloaded" or "shipping" weights are totally meaningless. Please do yourself a big favor and learn to think in terms of GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). It will eliminate a lot of stress and arguments.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:30 PM   #5
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Don, I will take the coach over the scales to verify "dry" weight posted in the coach, but why do you say those posted weights are "totally meaningless"?
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:48 AM   #6
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I can't answer for Don,but my opinion is the same. The only way UVW or dry weight has any meaning is if you plan to only travel with an unloaded trailer. For example, full-timers use a 20% safety factor. They properly match a tow vehicle to a trailer using the trailer GVW minus 20% of tow vehicle capacity for safety in towing/stopping, and tow vehicle longevity/maintenance.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:10 AM   #7
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Again, not putting words in Don's mouth, but GVWR (short of taking a loaded RV to the scales, which isn't realistic when shopping for one) is the best conservative estimate of what the RV's actual loaded weight will be when it's loaded and headed down the road - which is the only weight that really matters.

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Old 08-16-2009, 10:09 AM   #8
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You got your answer, and thanks guys.
Also you will very quickly discover that there is no true dry weight. Dry was established by some fool in the factory and is generally given minus all accessories/options. Including such things as awnings (250#) AC units(175#) oversized refers (100#). larger WH (25#). well you get the picture. YOU WILL NEVER and I repeat NEVER tow unloaded. You will be adding clothes, food, water, residual water in the holding tanks, larger TV, games, etc,etc,etc to this rig. so again lacking actual, ready to camp weight use the trailers GVWR.
Last thought, if you are really interested in this rig and it sounds like you are. please be really sure that your truck does not exceed its limits when you take it's scaled ready to camp weight and the trailers GVWR together. Newmar builds them heavy.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:18 AM   #9
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I am on my 2nd Newmar and yes they are heavy. But they ae well built. I have not heard anyone with a complaint that would sound like a frame issue.

I pulled my current 5er (GVW 16,500#) with my Ford F-350 out to Montanna an back. IT was under the trucks GVWR and right at the GCWR, maybe 100# under. It did fine. I only got an F450 because I plan on getting a larger 5er the go-around.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:49 PM   #10
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My reply was off-topic sorry. Loading values for steel beams is not an easy calculation, there are too many variables to make a simple chart. You will find many websites that explain this much better than I. A simple rule of thumb is depth/length of span. High load= 1/10, medium= 1/15, light load= 1/20. I am confident RV manufacturers use steel beams of adequate strength to withstand what they consider normal use for each product. I say this because mfgrs. know their products are moving about on various road conditions. Ever seen a mobile home that was not leveled correctly? The roof-line appears wavy, this is because the frame was designed to move over roadways once, then be leveled along its length for support.
That's my opinion, takes it and $2 to buy a coffee.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:45 PM   #11
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Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate all the input.

Dave (Vulcangw)
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:22 AM   #12
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You will find the actual Newmar weight inside a cupboard door in the kitchen. Each unit is weighed before shipment,
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:35 AM   #13
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Yes I am familiar with the actual unloaded weight location. It is posted as just over 12,800 in this coach. I will be curious as to what it actually weighs, because I have read so many various opinions on the accuracy of these posted weights. The salesman, for what his statement is worth, said that these weights are calculated based on one weighing of a standard stripped model and then adding the known weights of any accessories. We shall see what the scales say.

I find all the opinions on how to match a tow vehicle with a trailer's weight informative, interesting, and at times fascinating. Ray's comment regarding full timers using a 20% safety factor is most interesting. I am not sure what good the tow vehicle manufacturer weight ratings are if one needs to add a 20% safety factor. I would think the manufactures, who are quite averse to liability law suits, would have already included a factor of safety. And it seems to me that if one stays within the manufacturer's limits, then the biggest "safety factor" of all is how smart and safely one drives.
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:56 PM   #14
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We have owned 3 Newmar 5th wheels, a 98 American Star, a 06 Cypress and our current 08 Cypress and never experienced problems.

We did have a large tree total the 06 however the rear window did not even pop out. The tree removal folks who used chain saws to cut the limbs inside flush with the ceiling so the trunk could be cut and lifted form the roof stated they could not believe it was not flattened to the floor. It occurred in Florida and they had similar experience with RV.

I’m not sure of the frame integrity of other 5’ers but these photos attest to the Cypress.



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