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Old 09-10-2016, 09:47 AM   #1
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New Fifth Wheel Frame

After reading the thread about the twisted frame, as a potential new fiver purchaser, I have a lot more to think about. Going from our relatively small travel trailer to a fifth wheel, the frame issue has got me puzzled. How can I look at, measure or otherwise tell if a brand I am looking at has a decent frame, or are they all the same?
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:18 AM   #2
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I think you are referring to the twisted frame on the rig that had flipped axles and had additional spacers added for more height. That would be a poor example of a generic twisted frame issue. Regarding a potential problem with a specific brand, go to that brand's forum and see if there are any complaints.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:27 AM   #3
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Unless it's mentioned in the brochure on their web site then every 5th wheel you look at will have a Lippert frame. Those that don't use Lippert are proud of it and will advertise it. Right now in the lower to mid price range for 5th wheels the only ones I know of are Outdoor RV, Northwood Mfg. If there are others then maybe someone in the know will chime in.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:47 AM   #4
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I think most if not all of the brands we have looked at have Lippert frames then. I am definitely not looking at the high end models, and since there aren't any Northwood dealers in this area. I just want something that will hang together for a few years, and not drop the tanks out of the bottom going down the highway.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:10 AM   #5
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We are going to the Dallas RV show next week, so I will have another question or two for the salesmen. I don't really expect to get a good answer, though, ha, ha.
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Old 09-10-2016, 04:21 PM   #6
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I know Lippert get's a bad rap but you have to consider how many travel trailers and fifth wheel frames that are built each year. This is for all manufactures not just one or two that use Lippert frames even some high end units that use Lippert, such as Keystone's Montana models. What you need to do is your home work and review each model that you are looking at. Check the model's forum such as Keystone or Forest River forums and see what the users have posted about their trailers.
I have owned 3, 5TH wheels and none of them have had any issues with the frames manufactured by Lippert. And I know what to look for in frame design since I'm a retired structural engineer.
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Old 09-10-2016, 06:16 PM   #7
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I have noticed that the shorter two models of Cardinals have 10" beams, one of which is the 3250 which my DW likes. The longer models have 12" beams. Would this be a problem given the lighter weight and 4 to 5 feet shorter length?
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texastbird View Post
After reading the thread about the twisted frame, as a potential new fiver purchaser, I have a lot more to think about. Going from our relatively small travel trailer to a fifth wheel, the frame issue has got me puzzled. How can I look at, measure or otherwise tell if a brand I am looking at has a decent frame, or are they all the same?
2016 Wildcat 295rsx has a BAL frame
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:39 AM   #9
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I would like to know how they stressrelieve the frames after all the welding done on them?
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:32 AM   #10
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Seriously don't believe any is done. Stress relieving is a time consuming project.
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Old 09-11-2016, 03:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texastbird View Post
I have noticed that the shorter two models of Cardinals have 10" beams, one of which is the 3250 which my DW likes. The longer models have 12" beams. Would this be a problem given the lighter weight and 4 to 5 feet shorter length?
Height of frame is a minor factor for frame twisting. I think weak cross bracing is the big issue and they are not visible. Mor/ryde or someone else makes an aftermarket cross brace or ez to have a local welder add some. Then the other factor is don't make tight maneuvers that stress the suspension and frame, just because a fifth wheel can be jack-knifed 90 degrees doesn't mean such maneuvering is risk free.
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Old 09-11-2016, 03:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texastbird View Post
I think most if not all of the brands we have looked at have Lippert frames then. I am definitely not looking at the high end models, and since there aren't any Northwood dealers in this area. I just want something that will hang together for a few years, and not drop the tanks out of the bottom going down the highway.
Doubt that it is the frames fault if tanks are falling out. Those attachments are the responsibility of the house manufacturer.
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:26 PM   #13
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Ok, I didn't know that, Gordon. Thanks.
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:21 AM   #14
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Jayco has was using an independent frame builder but then Lippert bought the builder.
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