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Old 09-23-2019, 11:38 PM   #1
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The title is wrong but i couldn't change it: the issue is a safety defect in a 2020 model Wolf Pup 18TO Oregon edition. The following is part of a letter I plan to write to my US Senator because I don't know how else to get some attention to this issue.

Iíve seen a safety issue with a new model RV and Iím getting ignored by the RV manufacturer after reporting it to them over two weeks ago. This safety issue concerns overloading (too much weight) of the connect point between the tow vehicle and the RV. The part being overloaded is called an ďA frame couplerĒ which fits over the hitch ball from the tow vehicle. Iíve called the NHTSA and they say they canít do anything about it since I donít own the vehicle in question.

I donít know how else to warn potential buyers of this problem which could cause an uncoupling of the trailer from the tow vehicle and subsequent accident/damage to the RV and possibly the tow vehicle.

The particulars are as follows:
Manufacturer: Forest River
Division: Cherokee
Model: Wolf Pup 18TO (western division Ė made in Oregon only - these models are built in Indiana and Oregon)
Model Year: 2020.

I have the same model RV- 18TO -but itís the midwestern division ( made in Indiana) 2019 year model. The gross vehicle weight (Called GVWR) of my 18TO is 4999 pounds and the A frame Coupler is rated for 5000 pounds Ė pretty marginal. The problem Iíve noted is that the 2020 model made in Oregon is certified by Forest River at 5600+ pounds gross vehicle weight, but the A frame coupler has the same rating I have: 5000 pounds.. The problem is a 600 pound overload in weight and eventually the part may wear prematurely and eventually fail, causing an accident. Iíve seen two 18TO units - one in Bend and one in Redmond that have this problem, so its not a one unit mistake.

The fix is simple- a different A frame coupler rated at 6000-8000 pounds - gross vehicle weight . Incidentally the 2020 model made in Indiana still has the gross vehicle weight at 4999 so only the Oregon division made the change.

As a sidenote, I got into this by noting the gross weight increase on the forest river website and trying to find out if I could take advantage of it and I found out all I need to do is put a higher capacity A frame coupler on my unit. Iíd have to remove the welded on coupler and weld on a higher capacity unit. Iíve identified an 8000 pound gross vehicle capacity unit that might work. I will do that when the warranty expires next May.
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchristo13 View Post
As a sidenote, I got into this by noting the gross weight increase on the forest river website and trying to find out if I could take advantage of it and I found out all I need to do is put a higher capacity A frame coupler on my unit. Iíd have to remove the welded on coupler and weld on a higher capacity unit. Iíve identified an 8000 pound gross vehicle capacity unit that might work. I will do that when the warranty expires next May.
Are you sure that's all? Did the frame get modified between model years? Axles? Tires?

I only ask because I overloaded my fifth wheel over 2 years of fulltiming. I was never over axle ratings and had upgraded the tires. I ultimately buckled the frame. There was no 1 single thing that I could do to upgrade the capacity- everything worked together.
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Old 09-24-2019, 02:26 AM   #3
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In answer to your question, I asked Forest River Cherokee division what was the difference. Their response was only the A frame coupler was different. I checked the tires: their size and capacity was the same. I do know my frame has T09 stamped on it and the axle is 5100 pound capacity for both models. The axle capacity of my model is what started me to wonder if the trailer capacity could be increased.
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