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Old 05-29-2015, 08:41 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 97
Fresh water tank nearly fell of our new Cardinal!

Have a 2015 Cardinal 3850RL and are on our last day of a 7,000 mile, 6 week trip. Has been great for the most part. But on the 3rd day, near Fort Stockton TX we noticed the fresh water tank nearly on the ground. We strapped it up with a lot of ratcheted tie-downs, and it's been fine since,..but we don't carry much water in it either. Luckily all of our parks have been full hookups so we have another source of water! No one could help us either..even contacted Forest River. While they were very sympathetic, all they could do is refer us to repair places that had long waiting times. Camping World even had a 2 week wait!! So we went on. Other issues have been a pantry door that doesn't shut all the way,which has caused some molding to crack. Also a rear window knob that fell off, and some other minor things that are to be expected going over some of the rough roads across that country that we have encountered. Will be taking it into the dealers next week, and we are curious as to what caused the tank to almost fall out!!

Carol and Ed
2015 Cardinal 3850RL
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:28 AM   #2
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I was either badly designed, or improperly installed. Since they don't all fall out, the latter seems more likely.

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Old 05-29-2015, 04:38 PM   #3
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On our Cardinal's first trip out we had the same problem. Whoever installed it at the factory used the wrong size screws which pulled out. We jury rigged it to get home and the dealer replaced the tin, plywood, and straps. Used it for years without another problem.

Bill & Christine
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Old 05-30-2015, 04:25 PM   #4
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Thanks! We take ours in next Thursday for repairs. Glad to hear we aren't the only ones! Will definitely be curious to see if it's the same problem! The state of this country's highways really banged this trailer around! It's amazing more parts didn't fall out!
2015 Cardinal 3850RL
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Old 06-22-2015, 04:16 PM   #5
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I saw it happen too

I was camping with my parents on the weekend. When they got up to the site, they went to fill the fresh water tank. When it was about 80% full, it crashed onto the ground.
Luckily for them, I'm an industrial mechanic and was able to fix it enough to get by for the weekend and send them home (400 Kms).
The only thing holding in the tank are 3 cross braces. Not one of them was mounted (with screws or any kind of fasteners). They all had holes at the end of the bars but none had studs or anything to hold in place. They each had putty and that was all. I assume the travelling empty shifted these braces with the end one twisting almost out. When the tank was filled, the little bit holding on fell down. The middle brace couldn't support all that weight so the one tab broke dropping out also. The single standing brace forced the plastic tank to buckle.
No way to empty the tank with the drain at the end where the 1 brace held. I jacked up the tank in the middle with a bottle jack and 2X6. Then I was able to get another jack under the furthest end to get it all the way up, with lots of re positioning and blocking. Now the tank could be drained and worked into place. I straightened the braces the best I could. The middle one, I was able to use the campground's shop and weld the tab back on. I also through a 1000lb strap across the middle just in case.
Talk about a manufacturers defect, not one single mount on any of the 3 braces. Now imagine that was a full tank and dropped out on the HWY ! Someone could have been killed. I'm sure this will NOT be something covered under warranty, the unit is now 3 yrs old. If I was anyone with a 5th wheel of any kind, I would be looking under that fancy plastic skirting to see if my braces were secure. This could have been much worse....Cheers !
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:41 AM   #6
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After 6 weeks in for repairs, our unit has been fixed under the warranty. RV Supercenter in Temecula CA did a great job! Put new steel in, welded, etc...the fresh water tank is NEVER going anywhere after this!😊 They also replaced a pantry door that wasn't shutting right, a couple of window knobs, and a few other minor things. All due to the tremendous jostling the trailer withstood on some terrible highways across the country. But the tank issue was due to defects by the manufacturer. We talked to a Forest River today and they assured us they had fixed the problem on these trailers. Much more support now for the water tank. Now..can't wait to take the trailer out again!!
2015 Cardinal 3850RL
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Old 07-29-2015, 07:32 AM   #7
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Thumbs down 2015 Cardinal 3850RL 5th Wheel, not happy!!!

Many problems with our 2015 Cardinal 3850RL. Same problem with the pantry door. When doing auto leveling two of the slides came out at the same time. The landing gear creeps down when set-up causing the bathroom door to not close because it hits at the top of the door frame. Did you notice the location of the outdoor duplex outlet, it is above the water heater, the outlet covers get so hot when the water heater is in gas mode that you can't touch them. If a wire is plugged into the outlet the wire will melt. I am registering a complaint with the NHTSB because it is a safety issue, all owners with the same design issue should do the same thing to force Forrest River to correct this situation. As I said, there are other issues as well including the slide not going in all the way on the door side of the trailer, they attempted to fix it but made it worse, it now hits the center island inside the trailer. My brother-in-law has the same exact trailer with most of the same issues. We purchased the trailers from Susquehanna RV in Pennsylvania, 4 1/2 hours away, big mistake, can't get anyone in New Jersey to work on the trailers because we did not purchase the trailers from them. Susquehanna RV says they did a repair such as the shore cord receptacle replacement and put it on the invoice as being replaced and it was not. Have been in contact with Forrest River warranty department many times to try to get problems corrected.
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Old 07-29-2015, 07:48 AM   #8
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What you've experienced with TT's is somewhat common. We bought a 27' North Trail (Heartland ) and thought we had a decent unit. We drove it home and after just putting in about a 1/3 tank of fresh water so the dealer could check all the water lines for leaks by the time we got home that fresh water tank was sagging 7".

I started checking on line and some actually said that most TT tanks have loose straps to allow for the sagging. That made no sense to me at all. We had it fixed under warranty but it should not have left the factory with so little support. The place that fixed it put a piece of 1/2" plywood under the two pieces of angle iron that supported it.

We took our first trip that March which was about 1,800 miles. When we got back I decided to upgrade the tires, install wet bolts in the leaf springs because all bushings were worn through in just the one trip. There were also no self adjusting brakes and no shock absorbers. It was then that I determined that TT manufacturers built those units on the edge of destruction. The axles, tires, suspension, bearings, and frames will barely support the weight.

We did try one more TT by Forest River. It was a little better but with 8 support jacks under the frame it was still like walking on a trampoline. I'll never have another TT. For the most part they are junk. Most manufacturers figure that after the newness is worn off (maybe 3-5 years) the TT sets next to the barn, house, storage lot or driveway with maybe one to two trips a year. So they Increase their bottom line by not building a quality unit that will set 95% of the time.

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Old 08-24-2015, 06:53 PM   #9
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A similar nightmare was when our black tank (yes, the black tank) fell out at a campground. We found the rails that are supposed to secure the tank were purposely bent during assembly (by a crescent wrench or similar tool). We assume this was to allow the assemblers to more easily insert the tank. Of course, easy in and easy out. And, the tank was not secured in any fashion other than the pvc pipe attached to the toilet. This happened one year and 3 days after purchase. We contacted FR and they graciously reimbursed us. But that is an assembly and/or design foul up!
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fresh water, tank, water

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