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Old 06-20-2005, 06:57 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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No, I'm not new to the forum, yes, it has been awhile, and can't seem to retrieve my original password, so I re-registered.

Anyways, a little back ground: We have a 2002 Trail-lite 5th wheel, model 5281-s. I have been happy the rig, have used it many times, winter and summer, can not complain.

A year after purchase I recieved a letter from Trail-lite regarding a recall for the hitch pin. It seems that the metal bracing that the hitch pin is atatched to can flex, which causes the metal to work harden and break. I have personally not had that problem, but did not want to either. Took it in to have "the fix" done. That was done last spring (2004).

It seems they (the dealer) had to remove the front nose cone (not sure what it is really called), weld an additional support beam to the pin box (used a certified welder), and reassemble. The "kit" was provided by trail-lite to the dealer. No cost to me, took about 3 weeks, overall, the job looked good. Used the 5'er that summer, and occasional use during this past winter.

Noticed over this past winter that the front nose cone developed a crack (it is the solid one piece nose made out of abs plastic-I think?). The crack is at the very bottom corner where the nose cone meets the metal trim edge. The crack is small (4 inches), and I discovered ice behind the crack. Left it alone till this spring, no water damage noticed.The crack is so close to the metal trim piece that it can be covered with sealant.

Took a closer look this past weekend to find out the "cause" (camper is stored 150 miles away). Not sure if it was cracked during the repair, or if it was caused by the ice. Some of the things I found: That corner metal trim (moulding)that connects the front nose to the fiberglass sides only had about every other screw put back in it. The entire moulding piece was sealed in place with silicone caulk only. That caulk had separated and I assume no longer doing it's job.

This past weekend, I removed that metal trim (it is a solid one piece that starts at the roof, follows the nose, comes back to the camper, and then finally to the bottom-a very long "U" shaped piece of aluminum trim), cleaned all of the silicone sealant off (what a job), used a fiberglass repair kit from the inside of the nose cone to repair the crack and give it strength, reassembled using butyl sealant, put screws in EVERY hole, and the job looks good. I am confident I have everything sealed up.

Some questions came up during reassembly: Of course the main concern-what caused it to crack? Probably water that froze? Cracked during repair?, Improper install (not enough screws?).

I was looking at the nose cone and noticed that it "expands" with hot and cold cycles (like vinyl siding on a house). If the nose cone was installed to tight could this cause the cracking? The underside of the metal trim hase butyl tape on it, as well as a rubber gasket that I assume is to allow for expansin and contraction.

I have to remove the other side trim piece and remove all of that silicone and redo it. No crack on that side, just want to make sure what I am doing is the right way.

I also noticed no support of the nose cone around the underside where it meets up with the hitch pin box. It seems they cut the opening to large, put on a trim piece to hide it and just siliconed it to the side of the box. The silicone is breaking away and the underside of the nose cone is flexable.

I guess I have just to many questions. Is there anybody out there with this type of experience that I could ask some questions? I have no problems fixing it myself as I will then know about the quality of the job. Sorry, I can't trust dealers. Thanks for your time, sorry about the long post, I just want to fix it right, Kevin
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Old 06-20-2005, 06:57 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 5
No, I'm not new to the forum, yes, it has been awhile, and can't seem to retrieve my original password, so I re-registered.

Anyways, a little back ground: We have a 2002 Trail-lite 5th wheel, model 5281-s. I have been happy the rig, have used it many times, winter and summer, can not complain.

A year after purchase I recieved a letter from Trail-lite regarding a recall for the hitch pin. It seems that the metal bracing that the hitch pin is atatched to can flex, which causes the metal to work harden and break. I have personally not had that problem, but did not want to either. Took it in to have "the fix" done. That was done last spring (2004).

It seems they (the dealer) had to remove the front nose cone (not sure what it is really called), weld an additional support beam to the pin box (used a certified welder), and reassemble. The "kit" was provided by trail-lite to the dealer. No cost to me, took about 3 weeks, overall, the job looked good. Used the 5'er that summer, and occasional use during this past winter.

Noticed over this past winter that the front nose cone developed a crack (it is the solid one piece nose made out of abs plastic-I think?). The crack is at the very bottom corner where the nose cone meets the metal trim edge. The crack is small (4 inches), and I discovered ice behind the crack. Left it alone till this spring, no water damage noticed.The crack is so close to the metal trim piece that it can be covered with sealant.

Took a closer look this past weekend to find out the "cause" (camper is stored 150 miles away). Not sure if it was cracked during the repair, or if it was caused by the ice. Some of the things I found: That corner metal trim (moulding)that connects the front nose to the fiberglass sides only had about every other screw put back in it. The entire moulding piece was sealed in place with silicone caulk only. That caulk had separated and I assume no longer doing it's job.

This past weekend, I removed that metal trim (it is a solid one piece that starts at the roof, follows the nose, comes back to the camper, and then finally to the bottom-a very long "U" shaped piece of aluminum trim), cleaned all of the silicone sealant off (what a job), used a fiberglass repair kit from the inside of the nose cone to repair the crack and give it strength, reassembled using butyl sealant, put screws in EVERY hole, and the job looks good. I am confident I have everything sealed up.

Some questions came up during reassembly: Of course the main concern-what caused it to crack? Probably water that froze? Cracked during repair?, Improper install (not enough screws?).

I was looking at the nose cone and noticed that it "expands" with hot and cold cycles (like vinyl siding on a house). If the nose cone was installed to tight could this cause the cracking? The underside of the metal trim hase butyl tape on it, as well as a rubber gasket that I assume is to allow for expansin and contraction.

I have to remove the other side trim piece and remove all of that silicone and redo it. No crack on that side, just want to make sure what I am doing is the right way.

I also noticed no support of the nose cone around the underside where it meets up with the hitch pin box. It seems they cut the opening to large, put on a trim piece to hide it and just siliconed it to the side of the box. The silicone is breaking away and the underside of the nose cone is flexable.

I guess I have just to many questions. Is there anybody out there with this type of experience that I could ask some questions? I have no problems fixing it myself as I will then know about the quality of the job. Sorry, I can't trust dealers. Thanks for your time, sorry about the long post, I just want to fix it right, Kevin
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Old 06-21-2005, 07:09 AM   #3
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Cap is most likely plastic and needs to expand and contract. You may have to make the holes larger than the screws to allow the cap to expand and contract . Most likely the crew that installed the cap used this methods for expansion and contraction . I would drill over size holes elongate them 1/8" . Plastic will gas off and contract and harden and you guessed it crack no matter what you do but that takes a long time . Others may have a solution . Skipper entry level over fifty years.
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Old 06-21-2005, 07:23 AM   #4
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Your crack may continue to grow. I'd drill a small hole right at the end of the crack to stop it from growing. You can get an abs plastic repair kit, or if it's small enough, just fill it with similar colored caulk, but drill it first to stop it.

It may be to late, but I'da took that back and made the dealer redo it. It was just a crappy repair job.
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I'll start with the dealer, ain't gonna go down that road again. Look at the trouble it has caused me allready.

I like the idea of elongating the holes. I think I will remove the entire front nose piece (it is abs plastic), and just redo it all.

Luckily the crack was just at a corner, really close to the edge. It started at the bottom and finished at the side, so no worries about it continueing. I did fiberglass the piece back on from the inside, and like mentioned before, thew crack is so close to the metal piece that it is covered with sealant.

Just wish there was somebody out there who has done this before to give me some pointers.

I thought about calling the manufacturer, and seeing if they could be of any help. Not looking for them to take any responsibility, just some advice on how to re-install it correctly. Thanks again, Kevin
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