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Old 05-18-2008, 09:20 PM   #1
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Hi all, thank you for having this forum! We are the owners of an Open Road 2006 357 RLDS fifth wheel, bought it brand new from the dealer. The unit has been towed 6 times, three trips from Alberta Canada to Yuma Arizona and on our return trip the pinbox welds failed. The pinbox itself was pushed up into the bedroom closet heaving the floor and cracking the walls inside the closet. We removed the fiberglas skin around the area of the pinbox assembly and were shocked to see tears in the metal frame and broken welds. We had to have a welder come and repair the unit so we could haul it the rest of the way home. Enroute, we stopped at the dealership we purchased the unit at and showed them what had happened. According to them, they had never seen this kind of thing before. We have come to find out, through talking to people, that this does happen to other people. So, my question is, has anyone heard of this happening and what kind of units were affected? Is this primarily an Open Road problem or is it a Lippert Manufacturing problem? Thanks for any replies.

Debbi
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:20 PM   #2
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Hi all, thank you for having this forum! We are the owners of an Open Road 2006 357 RLDS fifth wheel, bought it brand new from the dealer. The unit has been towed 6 times, three trips from Alberta Canada to Yuma Arizona and on our return trip the pinbox welds failed. The pinbox itself was pushed up into the bedroom closet heaving the floor and cracking the walls inside the closet. We removed the fiberglas skin around the area of the pinbox assembly and were shocked to see tears in the metal frame and broken welds. We had to have a welder come and repair the unit so we could haul it the rest of the way home. Enroute, we stopped at the dealership we purchased the unit at and showed them what had happened. According to them, they had never seen this kind of thing before. We have come to find out, through talking to people, that this does happen to other people. So, my question is, has anyone heard of this happening and what kind of units were affected? Is this primarily an Open Road problem or is it a Lippert Manufacturing problem? Thanks for any replies.

Debbi
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Old 05-19-2008, 04:32 AM   #3
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Debbi,

First of all, welcome to iRV2! We're glad to have you with us, although not under your unfortunate circumstances.

Could you give us a little more information that might help in discussing your problem? What 5th wheel hitch were you using? Is your pinbox on the 5th wheel vertical or extended (i.e., a horizontal beam that extends forward from the pinbox attachment and carries the kingpin)? Are you, by chance, using a gooseneck adapter on the 5th wheel and towing with a gooseneck hitch in the truck?

If you go to the Find function in the toolbar above your post and enter "lippert frame", it should give you some useful background from previous discussions.

Rusty
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:05 PM   #4
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Hi Rusty, we use a Reese 5th wheel hitch on our 2007 Dodge Dually 1 ton
truck. No airbags or gooseneck attachments, just the hitch. The Kingpin ( is that correct terminology?)
slides horizontally into the hitch on the truck. There have been no
modifications at all to the hitch prior to this happening, however we did
have to move the bolts on the pin box in order to tow the rig home.
Because of the bend in the metal, the pin was sitting at an awkward angle
and would not ride smoothly in the truck hitch.

This is our third 5th wheel and 2nd hitch and we have never had any
inkling of a problem prior to this. The welder who did the repair for
us said that the metal was poor gauge and the welding was just tacked,
he was appalled by what he saw. He also said that because of the rust
on the tears, he felt that the metal had been probably tearing for a
long time.

The frame along the beam in front of the pin box is bent a good six
inches upward due to the pin box being pushed up into the closet in the
bedroom of the RV. The walls are cracked and the floor is heaved up so
consequently the drawers on the one side of the closet door no longer
close properly. We have a computer desk on the one side of the unit
and we now see that it is separating from the walls on either side and
the trim on the ceiling is coming down. We believe that the frame on the
trailer is now twisted down the one side or perhaps on both.

Upon doing a search as you suggested...I can see that the frame
manufacturer does not produce a quality product in some instances.

We are both pretty sick at heart over this but we are also very
thankful that nothing tragic happened along the trail from southern Arizona
to Alberta. There are some pretty steep mountain passes in Utah and
Montana so it could have been wicked.

We have Kenda tires on this rig and now we are hearing bad things
about them. Is there a recall on them and if so who does one contact?
Two separate issues, sorry.

Thanks to all for any comments, replies.

Debbi
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Old 05-19-2008, 12:56 PM   #5
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Debbi,

From your description, I don't see anything out of the ordinary in your hitch arrangement. Given that yours is a 2006 model 5th wheel, is it still under the manufacturer's structural warranty? Whether it is or not, what is the dealer or Open Road saying about the frame/pinbox failure and what they are going to do to make it right? In your situation, that would be my first avenue of recourse to investigate.

Rusty
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:11 PM   #6
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Hi Rusty, the warranty is 1 year on all parts and the frame is the same. If you go to the website for the manufacturer of the frame there are pages of disclaimers..they are not responsible for anything according to their legalese.

The dealer has told us that the manufacturer of the frame wants to have the rv repaired as soon as possible but that was the end of it. We expect to hear more this week and will do what needs doing. After the unit is "fixed" we feel that we do not want to tow it again. If so little attention was paid to such an important part of the rv...what is the rest of it like?

We have had the casing around the fireplace replaced because the wood split, floor needed to be screwed down in the rear of the unit, water pump has been replaced, all pipes needed reclamping due to water leaks, cupboard in the kitchen started to spread apart from the wall, no screws on the bottom of the Corian countertop holding it to the cupboard base, wall buckled by the fridge and had to be repaired and lastly, the water filler on the outside of the rv was not even connected to a hose to take the water to the tank!

We understand that things get missed when "quality control" examines a unit prior to it being sold, but the list is getting too long now to be considered tolerable.

Does anyone think it would be safe to keep a unit like this after the metal fatigue and pin box problem? Appreciate any responses...

Thanks...

Debbi
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Old 05-19-2008, 03:15 PM   #7
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Hi Debbi -

I'm Sandy...RustyJC's other (better) half. He mentioned to me your posts and I just wanted to jump online and say that I know the feeling you are enduring right now. It's such a shame that we spend the money we do to induldge in our pleasure and yet they (some) are not built worthy of the price tag.

I'm so sorry to hear of the problems you are having. All of us understand that there will always be some minor 'bugs' that need to be worked out, but this goes beyond the minor category.

Metal can be replaced, but lives cannot. Through all of this, be very thankful that the unit did not come completely off the hitch and headed down the other side of the highway. You, as well as others, could easily have been injured or killed.

While I might not have any quick answers for your problems, it just helps to know that someone else cares...and we do.

Sandy
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Old 05-19-2008, 04:24 PM   #8
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Hi Sandy, you are very kind! Thanks so much for the words of understanding. It is so disappointing as you say, when you pay the big bucks to have something like we bought and then find out it is not the quality you were told it was.

I am beginning to feel better knowing that something is going to be done on our behalf. The insurance adjuster comes out Tuesday to look at it and he says because it was not an accident, the insurance will not cover the repairs but is coming out anyway to have a look. We are hoping he can pass judgement and tell us if it should be repaired or written off.

We realize that it could have been worse and consider ourselves fortunate to have someone watching out for us. Last year the motor blew on our 2005 Dodge while we were in Mexico and it was a challenge to get the truck to the US to a dealership but again, we had divine guidance help us along the way. We are starting to think that perhaps we were not meant to travel with an RV. We enjoy the lifestyle so I am not sure if we are ready to give it up yet!

Take care and thanks again! You are proof that there are angels among us...

Deb
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Old 05-19-2008, 04:27 PM   #9
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Debbi,

If Open Road or Lippert is going to repair the 5th wheel at their expense, I'd go ahead and get it repaired. Once that is done, then you can decide to keep it, trade it in, sell it outright or whatever. Unfortunately, that's a decision with many ramifications, financial and otherwise, and one that only your family can make. We're here to help you through this process however we can.

Rusty
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:31 PM   #10
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Hello Deb! Welcome to irv2.com! Your's is a tragic story to be sure. Document every conversation concerning your 5er, time, date, who you spoke with, topic + details, etc. That welder you dealt with should be willing to provide a written assessment of what he saw and his work to make your 5er safe to tow.
Zieman/Lippert frame warranty verifies what Rusty said about it.

There was a woman(about a year ago) on the escapeess forums who, with great persistance, and documentation, got the mfgr. to replace her 5er with a new one. A search there will find the threads. She was bound by a gag clause, but her posts left little doubt.
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:42 PM   #11
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Well thank you for the welcome! I will sure check out the Escapees forum and see what I can find. We would like a new rv but we are not sure if we want one with a Lippert frame. From what I have been reading, it seems that they make 70-85 % of all frames used in the manufacture of RV's today.

I worked in the travel industry for 20 years and I document everything and have done since we had the incident. I got the name and phone number as well as address of the welder in Calgary. I am sure he wondered why I wanted it but he did not ask and I did not tell him why. I suspected that we would be in for a battle and felt it would be good to have his contact info. He was a very kind young man and did not fleece us when he did the work for us and he could very well have because we were in a bind.

We manage a Campground for the months of May through November so we need the RV to live in and use as our office so the logistics of the repairs will be interesting. We have been told we will be given a unit to live in so if that pans out, we will be ok. We are not full timers, we have a residence about 13 miles from the RV park but we are required to be in the park 24/7.

We feel we are fortunate to be able to camp for 11 months of the year, 6 at the park and 5 in the south and sure hope we can continue this way of life.

Thanks for the input and the welcome. I will be sure to update you in the next few days once we know what is happening.

Take care,

Debbi
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:26 PM   #12
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Hi Debbie,

I feel your pain - - been there, done that. We noticed some popped metal under the chin of our unit while in Denali National Park, Alaska. I then noticed the kingpin sitting at a slight angle and the front raised about 1-1/2" after putting some weight on it. We slowly limped back to Anchorage (240 miles) and into a dealer.

Our unit was then 3 years old. We called Carriage and they arranged for the complete repairs, air shipped parts from Indiana to Alaska and paid the whole bill. Labor bill was $3000 plus parts.

Ironically, this is not that unusual. Our unit had to wait three days to get in because the mechanic was not done with a high end unit in for the same thing. The week before another high end unit was in for, yep, the same thing. In Carriage situation, they had drilled the front cross piece to run wires thru the frame. Obviously, someone did not check with engineering before doing it. They were super in getting us back on the road.

Someone should help you with something that drastic on such a new unit. Good luck.

Bob
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:46 PM   #13
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Hi Bob, thanks for the note. It does help to know that others have been in the same situation. It is sad though that something like this happens on relatively new units. Someone in quality control where the frames are made has definately dropped the ball, so to speak.

There really is nothing we can do now but wait and see who is going to try and help us resolve all of this. Now that your rv is repaired, do you feel confident in hauling it again?

With us, because we have had other problems prior to this happening, we question the structural integrity throughout the whole unit. We have been semi-retired for three years now and poured a lot of money into this purchase, thinking we would be able to use it for a lot of years to come. Now its all up in the air but I guess that is life, its all about adapting and changing! Take care...

Debbi
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:05 PM   #14
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This is common. I noticed mine was starting to crack when i traded it. My friends also did this on a sprinter, his was allot worse then mine causing damage to his closet and roof. He ended up having insurance handle it and they totaled it.

This is a lippert problem. PM me if you need further.
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