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  • Lippert frame failure

    I'm here to say that I find it preposterous even pathetic that a 36' 2011 MS ( Supposedly one of the best made ) with only 37,235 documented miles with air bag assisted suspension and pulled by a pickup with air bag assisted suspension that is well under D R V's posted weight limit should be falling apart traveling on U.S. highways because of another LIPPERT frame that failed in the pin box area. How many of these will it take before Lippert will stand up and admit that something should be changed, They just do not care. I was told if I would pull the front cap and fiberglass around the pin box off (leaving everything open to the elements) they would come and estimate a cost of repair but that's all that they could do ! So, If you own one of these fifth wheels, PLEASE keep a close watch on the pin box area because you could in for a very expensive surprise!
    R F 1.5 inch drop.JPG
    pin box 1.jpgRight front break.JPG

  • #2
    That is indeed a sad example of welding...had my '05 for 10 years and noticed some flexing in the transition area, but never got to that point. Hope you can get it repaired to the point it was supposed to be in the first place.
    2005 36TK3 #1869
    2010 F450 Lariat

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    • #3
      I got very paranoid last year and dropped my fiberglass on my 06 36TK3 ES. I was surprised to find everything in like new condition. DW insisted that I have a "qualified" inspector take a look. They gave it a AOK and then helped me get my fiberglass up into place which was not an easy job. It didn't fit exactly the way it did before and the painted joints don't look like before but NOW I KNOW.
      sigpic
      Bob & Judy Schmader
      2006 Elite Suites 36 TK3
      2001 F550 Starhauler
      www.mytripjournal.com/elitesuitestravels
      IN GOD WE TRUST

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      • #4
        Just a comment: This looks to me more the a welding problem... In fact the welds look pretty much intact. To me, it look more like the material near the welds is failing. I'm thinking this needs more than rewelding, but needs gussets to distribute the strain/stress. Not sure how far back/ recent Lippert has problems with frames, so I may be looking closer at mine. What were the warning signs/clues to your problem?

        Not to hijack the thread, but my big problem with Lippert has been there auto leveling system. I'm so distrustful of it, I have chains/keepers to hold the front gear up and 12 ton jack stands under the front whenever not connected to my truck.

        Thanks for the info and please keep us informed.

        Best of luck, Ron
        2015 Mobile Suites 38RESB3 "Very Suite"
        2017 Ram 5500Laramie Crew Cab 4X4, 9' CM tow body

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        • #5
          DRV does NOT have a history of frame failures, even if they are made by Lippert. It's all in the engineering. Lippert DOES have a history of frame failures since they make ALMOST ALL of the frames on the road. A simple matter of #'s and manuf. supplying them with poorly engineered designs. Sorry about your troubles. A real bummer. Good luck and keep in touch.

          Bill

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          • #6
            The warning that I got was when the front cap was not in tune with the pin box itself. If I had EVER imagined that there would have been a problem in this area I would have made my front closet "door in the floor" a long time ago. It isn't hard to do. I would have taken care to make it a bit more elaborate so it could be opened and closed securely. The door gives one a good view at the area.

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            • #7
              2hadleys80,
              Care to expand on the 'door in the floor'--might be something I'd like to consider? Again, hope you can get it repaired to your satisfaction.
              2005 36TK3 #1869
              2010 F450 Lariat

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              • #8
                Wingnut60, The door in the floor took time but not difficult to do. It was done by pulling most of the carpet loose and rolling it all into the left side out of the way. ( This is a 2011 model) I carefully marked out an 18" front to back X 30' side to side (If I remember the side to side width right). I carefully started on one side by drilling enough holes just big enough to start a small hand saw and cut slowly along the line ( feeling my way by tipping the saw to feel toward where the saw is headed while not sawing to feel for any metal beams) When I came to a beam I held the saw horizontal and carefully went down to the metal after drilling enough holes to cover the width of the beam and enough holes for another starting point. Again, It was time consuming but not difficult. By drilling these small holes it actually reduces sawing time. Continue to the first corner and then drill another starting point and on to the next corner. If I had done this I could have caught this before it became serious. I'm feel with a good piano hinge and a narrow piece attached underneath the floor for this door to close on it would be easy to use. Hopes this helps.

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                • #9
                  There was a 2009 DRV at the National HDT rally that had a torn pinbox area. The welds didn't fail, but the area around the welds did. Looks like a thin wall tube was used. Pics are online.
                  Alie & Jim
                  2017 Memphis
                  98 Volvo Pickup

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                  • #10
                    Bart-98, Two of the welders that came to look at ours said that the welds looked as if the heat was to hot because it appeared to be ' undercut' was the word I think he used.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you for the description of the opening.
                      2005 36TK3 #1869
                      2010 F450 Lariat

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                      • #12
                        No problem Wingnut60. Hope that helped. Took me most of the morning being careful but the results gave me an excellent view of a terrible sight.

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                        • #13
                          "excellent view of a terrible sight"

                          Says it all !!!
                          39TKSB3 "Highly Elited"

                          2015 RAM LongHorn 3500 Dually CrewCab 4X4 CUMMINS/AISIN RearAir 385HP/865TQ 4:10's 37,500# GCVWR "Towing Beast" "HeavyWeight" B&W RVK3600

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                          • #14
                            Any updates on repairs?
                            2015 Mobile Suites 38RESB3 "Very Suite"
                            2017 Ram 5500Laramie Crew Cab 4X4, 9' CM tow body

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                            • #15
                              Hello Wiredawg Chief,
                              Sad to say, after finding someone that said they could fix it, but not finding anyone that would touch the towing part because of the liability. After contacting over a dozen outfits, and waiting 27 days with the campground being very patient but needing our UN-reserved space, the ins company totaled the RV !!! UNBELIEVABLE TO ME ! Should NEVER have happened just being towed up and down the highways! I I did get told by someone very knowledgeable in the camper manufacturing industry that many times the participants in this industry get their " Q's" mixed up ?? In other words they choose quantity over quality and the purchaser pays the price ! Every day is an adventure. One way or the other. Thank the Good Lord that this problem was caught in time and that no one was hurt.

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