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Old 11-04-2014, 10:47 AM   #1
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Major Structural Breaks on Bighorn

I have a 2009 35' Bighorn with 3 slides. We've traveled about 4000 miles each year and enjoy it very much. This fall when we returned from our summer travels we notice that the floor in the bedroom had dropped about .5 inch and the outside cladding was shifting.

We took it in and we found (after removing the cladding under the bedroom) that the cross members had cracked. The floor of the bedroom was dropping.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

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Old 11-04-2014, 11:02 AM   #2
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I can't speak from personal experience, but cracked frames & welds have been an ongoing issue with Lippert frames. An internet search will turn up many forums and reports about the problem. Keep in mind that you don't hear from the thousands of Lippert frames that never have any problems.

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Old 11-05-2014, 03:31 AM   #3
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This was a problem prior to Bighorn's redesign of the frame in 2010....contact Heartland directly and have your VIN# ready. They will also want pictures...It is not uncommon for them to take care of this issue many years out of warranty.
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Old 11-13-2014, 05:55 PM   #4
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We had the same problem as you on our 2010 Eagle Ridge. As kakamper stated, contact Heartland. Ours was out of warranty and Heartland and Lippert took care of it. We did have to make a trip to the factory to have the repair made. No more problems since.

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Old 11-14-2014, 10:13 AM   #5
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I'll be watching this thread to see how this problem is resolved......hopefully by Heartland.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:28 PM   #6
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The frame should have a 5 year warranty. Depending on when you purchased. Like said before. They have been known to make the repairs after warranty.
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:27 PM   #7
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Had this problem with my 2012 bighorn 15 miles trip from dealer and frame cracked both sides heartland did fix the problem but not the same you can see the fiberglass where they cut and fixed it and when they painted the repaired area they must of had door windows open over sprat all over everywhere still have over spray on the fridge door sorry that's my heartland story..this is a well known problem with there trailers contact them maybe you'll get lucky they had mine for 8 months...I'm not a happy heartland owner......
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Old 11-20-2014, 05:21 PM   #8
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they fixed my 2009 Bighorn, and I am the second owner drop it off on a Monday picked it on Friday the same week
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Old 11-20-2014, 05:24 PM   #9
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That's great just keep track of everything they do if it's a frame problem you have to disclose that if you ever sell
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Old 01-28-2015, 09:46 AM   #10
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Strutural Damage to Bighorn

Here’s a recap of what has happened in our saga.

We have used out 35’ Bighorn for the last 6 years to travel to Texas and now Florida. We are based out of Indiana now in the summer. We put about 3500-4000 miles on per year. We have never had an accident in that time.
This past November, we noticed after a day of traveling, that the floor in the upstairs bedroom had a drop off of about ½ inch. Also we could see that the outside fiberglass covering had shifted. Luckily we were only about 200 miles from our destination.
When we arrived and unloaded, I contacted Camping World in Ft Myers because they sold Heartland products. Without disconnecting, I drove it up there.
They investigated and told me that the frame under the upstairs area was cracked. I gave them the go ahead to check it out and they took off the sheathing under the hitch and you could see that virtually every connection of the metal floor supports were cracked. The service rep kindly took many pictures of these breaks. (I’ve included a couple.)
At that time I contacted Heartland Customer service and provided them with the details and about 15 pictures of the breaks. They seemed concerned at the time and got Lippert Ind. involved (the frame manufacturer).
In order to fix the breaks the entire bedroom had to be removed, so that the breaks could be welded properly. Camping World did a go job of repairing the breaks and putting everything back together properly, but the final bill was more than $8000.
Lippert and Heartland finally came back and said they would do nothing. Lippert even went so far to question whether the 5th Airborne hitch might had contributed to the breakage. Heartland stated that Lippert “only want their pin boxes on the frame”.
I’ve read many blogs from other situations similar to mine. Most of them received some assistance from the manufactures and dealer. What did I do wrong?
I wasn’t able to get my trailer up to the factory except on the back of a flatbed. I provided over 40 pictures of the damage and the repairs. This went on for two months until I forced an answer out of them. I believe Heartland would have helped out, but Lippert held firm.
Great way to get a reference. NOT!!!!
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Old 01-28-2015, 05:40 PM   #11
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I really feel for you. That is awful to have to spend so much money to repair a fairly new unit. I suppose you discovered the problem too far past the warranty period. Even so they might have repaired it at the factory if you had paid to haul it there. No winners in that situation.
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:00 PM   #12
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Looking for the executive summary here:

You have a 6yo 5er that has gone about 25K miles and now needed 8K$us in repairs to be safe to move.
Correct so far??

Heartland was concerned, but the Lippert Blew it off.
Lippert - the frame builder blamed it on the Airborne Pinbox.
Am I still on course?

If the above is all correct, the only thing I have doubt about is whether you should take this to NHTSA or DOT. This could be a serious safety issue - Warranty Be Damned.

A lifelong waterman and his bride going dry places for as long as the fuel money lasts.
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:03 PM   #13
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ecsteman, I don't think you did anything wrong. But I think the age of your trailer and the number of years out of warranty worked against you. If the problem had been caught sooner, the outcome might have been better. In truth, the Fifth Airborne pin box rather than hurting, it probably helped minimize stress and delayed the failure and unfortunately gave Lippert and ez way out.
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Old 01-29-2015, 06:21 PM   #14
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I read trailerlife magazine from time to time. They have some sort of problem resolution service I believe. Not sure how it works but they are always printing stories like the one you posted. It may be worth a try. They will go to bat for you.

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