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Old 07-13-2013, 02:54 PM   #1
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Unhappy Problem with my 2012 Sanibel 3500

Hi
I have a 2012 model 3500 Sanibel Fifth wheel. The silicone seal on the driver side between the front cap and my bed was all broken. So I made a new one and everything was fine. Next time I hitch-up my FW, as soon as I lifted up the stabilizer, the seal broke-off leaving a large gap. On the first picture the jack are down. I clean-up the silicone and put a black tape that came flush to the molding. On the second and third picture I raised the stabilizer and you can see now the huge gap on the molding. It is 5/32 to 1/4 of an inch depending on where you take the measure.
Same thing for the molding under the bed that is opening up also. This kind of gap will be impossible to seal off with silicone. Anything similar happen to anyone of you. thanks for your help.
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:04 PM   #2
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Not a good sign. I suspect some broken welds somewhere. Good Luck
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:11 PM   #3
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Vacation

Yep like you said, not a good sign. . wow. My Sanibel is only 10 months old and 3500 miles on it. I was planning to go in vacation in 1 week. This would have been her second trip. I've got a suspension on the King pin (trailair) + a suspension on the Reese hitch. What does it take to make these frame hold up to time. What a shame. My FW was a 2012. I hope they made a few modifications to the frame since then. After I posted this, I saw that another owner (oldcamp1986) had the same problem and it was a problem with the frame. 40 hours repair job. On warranty but who cares when you're 1 week from your vacation. To bad, I really love this FW. If you look at my first post on this forum last october, I was in vacation in North Carolina (her first trip) when I saw that a few bolts that were holding the whole Fifth wheel box on the frame were loose. I got in touch with Prime Time and everything was taken care of. But is this going to be my life with this trailer, every vacation = another big problem. Have I got a lemon or is this happening frequently. I will try to find some answers on Monday to see if they have changed the frame since mine was build and see if it is possible exchange this lemon for an orange. I'll keep you posted. thanks
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:34 AM   #4
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Let us know whats wrong as the rest of us can inspect ours. I have noticed some saw dust on top of the dresser in the walk in closet. We have 20,000 plus miles though

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Old 07-14-2013, 12:02 PM   #5
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Unhappy easy to find out

From what I know now, I think it is quite easy to see if you have a cracked weld on your frame. hitch-up the fifth wheel to your truck and raise the front stabilizer like if you were ready to leave. Next, use a marker a draw some thin reference lines at different places near the molding on the driver and passenger side. After that, lower the stabilizer until all the weigth is releaved from the hitch. Don't try to lift the back of your truck. Just releave the pressure on the hitch. OK, for the moment of truth, check all the lines you made near the molding if there is now a gap. no gap = good. large gap = bad. Don't forget that you might not see your lines because it is now behind the moldings. any two situations is not good. the side wall of your fifth wheel that is over the pin box should not move in regard to the molding when you hitch it up and raise the stabilizer. I can replicate this movement every time i lower or raise my stabilizer. I will try to do a video of this and post it here next week. And I know for a fact that there shouild not be any gap. The wall and molding on the passenger side of my fifth wheel is not moving at all. it seem's that my problem is only on the driver side. hope this help you.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:44 PM   #6
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Can you post a video of the whole thing when you jack up and down the fifth wheel. I'm in the market for a Fifth wheel and Sanibel what high on my list but I've got to find more about this. In the meantime, I will call my Prime Time dealer and talk with the service manager to see if they had some frame problem. They also sell Landmark Fifth wheel that are also a luxury unit. Have you had some answer from the dealer ?
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:58 PM   #7
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It sure looks like some welds have let go, probably where the fifth wheel structure ties into the vertical supports going down to the main frame.
Can you get inside the front compartment and check that structure?
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:52 PM   #8
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Video and visual inspection

I will try to make a short video of what is happening when I raise or lower the jack this week. To be honest my fifth wheel is only 9 months old and 3500 miles on it. I am retiring next weekend and was planning to leave with my new FW. This was her second trip. I don't want to remove the front end underbelly because this thing is still under warranty. The dealer that carry Sanibel close to my home is reluctant to do the job on site. He did the first Sanibel that came in with a broken weld but he returned to the factory the second one. He did not want to tell me why, but I guess he ran into some problem. I send an email to Prime Time and I got a fast reply. They asked me to send the info I had on my trailer but I'm not sure if that was an automated reply from Roger Stickel. The thing I want to know is
1- how are they going to take care of this
2- is this a lemon or a rare incident on Sanibel fifth wheel.
I really love this fifth wheel and I could easely see myself enjoying my retirement and traveling thru north America but if every vacation bring up another problem, I'll have to sell it and find another fifth wheel. Probably not as expensive as this one because I will loose a lot of money on the exchange but peace of mind has a price.
I just learned too late that they buy frames from Lippert. I don't know where I got the impression that they were making their own frames. We'll see how long it takes before I get some answers from Prime Time. I might have to sit down in my backyard this summer. I'll extend the awning and at least stay in the shade.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:06 PM   #9
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So sad

I decided to register afeter reading your post because I felt I had something to say. I previously owned 4 travel trailer and I'm shopping for a fifth wheel. I saw a Sanibel in a KOA the other day. Really impressive. But what a surprise when at the end of the day, the owner turn on the light inside. We could see all this luxury and beautifull furniture from outside. My wife really wanted to see the inside but they left early in the morning. Please keep us inform on how they will handle the situation.
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlev View Post
I really love this fifth wheel and I could easely see myself enjoying my retirement and traveling thru north America but if every vacation bring up another problem, I'll have to sell it and find another fifth wheel. Probably not as expensive as this one because I will loose a lot of money on the exchange but peace of mind has a price..
I don't know that I would panic just yet. It should be easily fixable, and it really shouldn't have to go back to the factory. Even if your dealer is useless, there should be an honest RV repair shop somewhere nearby that would be happy to get the work. It probably isn't rocket science to do the repair.

[QUOTE=rlev;423033]
I just learned too late that they buy frames from Lippert. I don't know where I got the impression that they were making their own frames.[/ QUOTE]

Probably from this site, because when Prime Time first started building campers, there were all kinds of people posting about how they were the best thing since sliced bread, and they were using material from Mars, they were so exotic. Truth is, they are made from the same cheap labor as everyone else.

But don't get discouraged, as you caught it before it did major damage to the camper. It could have been much, much worse.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:00 PM   #11
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Dear RLEV,

I had this problem with my 2012 Sanibel 3500. While on 8,000 mile cross country trip, I noticed the caulking-like material coming out the seam in the same location. When I returned from my trip I took it in to my dealer for routine maintenance and showed the service manager the material that had squeezed out along the seam. He came back to me 30 minutes later and advised me that the frame had separated. He also told me that he knew what to look for since he had seen this on another Sanibel. My dealership was McGeorge Rolling Hills in VA. They took great care of me and Prime Time covered the repair under warranty. I was advised the estimate labor would be 40 hours to repair (front cap removed). They added a number of extra supports to the frame to reinforce. I was very happy both my dealership and Prime Time's support to correct this problem. I have traveled ~1000 miles since the repair and haven't noticed any other issues. I posted this issue last month for folks to check. Recommend you get it checked. I am a full timer and love this trailer. With the exception of this problem and some minor new trailer issues, I have not had any other problems. I have traveled ~12,000 miles since purchasing it in May 2012.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:56 PM   #12
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After reading this post I noticed that my 2012 Sanibel is doing the same thing on the driver's side only. I have to take it back to the dealer for some other issues so I'll have them check this out when it's there. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:40 AM   #13
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Good news and bad news

Sorry about the delay to get back to you. I was out of the country. I talked to Roger from Prime Time and I agree to take my Sanibel to the factory in October for a warranty repair. Roger told me that he think it is more some frame flexing than broken welds. I was planning a visit of the Prime Time factory + a few other RV company too. I will try to be there when they take the front cap off to see the damages for myself. Keep you posted on this subject.
On another matter, a word of advice for all of you FW owner. I'm new to this FW stuff. Always owned travel trailers before. A few days ago, left for 2 weeks vacation. I saw too late that low tunnel. I had the time to put on the brakes but was still rolling about 10 mPH when I hit the tunnel. It hit the AC and tore it down + damage the roof + damage some truss + damage the celing of the room. I posted a few pictures. With my travel trailer, I only had to think about clearance on each side of my trailer when I was making a turn but now there is a new dimension to the whole thing. HEIGHT. I posted this just to make sure nobody else has to live this situation. Lucky for me I always keep some heavy duty plastic film and a roll of eternabond in my trailer in case of a water leak. It came handy this time to make a temporary repair to finish my vacation. Amazing stuff this eternabond. I had some heavy rain and no leak. I send an email to Roger from Prime Time to ask him if he can do the repair in the same time than the frame flexing. Stay safe and watch for low tunnel. By the way. my brand new Garmin truck and RV GPS 760 dezl never saw there was a problem with a low tunnel. The tunnel was 3.6m and the programming for my RV was 4.0m on the GPS.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:25 AM   #14
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Oh man. That is bad news. I'm glad you're all OK and that the damage wasn't any worse.

I had been thinking that I needed to get one of those RV GPS units. I guess not! I imagine it gave you a false sense of security. I hope you will talk to Garmin about this.

(BTW, not that it would have mattered in this case, but your RV is a few cm taller than 4m I believe, and I would add a bit of fudge for road bounce.)
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:49 AM   #15
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Sometimes repaving of the roadway doesn't or is delayed in getting reported. Don't know if this happened or not... just a heads up.

Hope everything works out ok for Ya . That had to be a sick feeling.
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:54 AM   #16
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This speaks to something I have been thinking about on this, our first long trip. I want to measure the height of our rig, fully loaded and hitched, before we leave this park for the run back South....home.

Our trip up was interstate almost all the way, except for a short trip into downtown in Alabama due to (ahem) co-pilot navigator error. (Blush) Pilot came thru like a pro,bless his heart, even getting thru a gridlock intersection, getting thru a crowded parking lot to make it back to the interstate and under a couple of underpasses.

We need to KNOW our overall height.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:02 AM   #17
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I measured my 5 vr At the very edge or side and at the highest point. Some posted clearances for tunnels are measured at the side wall rather than top dead center. Bridges and overpasses could be much different.

Post your measurements on a sticky note on the dashboard or windshield.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:26 AM   #18
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Their is a POI out their called Clearances and low bridges. You load it on your GPS, you can set the lowest height that you can go under. It will give you a 2 mile warning if that tunnel or overpass is lower on your route. But remember it is a GPS and do not put all your eggs in that basket. Sorry to hear of you problem rlev. I have measured the highest point on mine and then added in the height of the vent cover at the highest point. The spec sheet said it was 12' 6" when I measured it was 11'6" without the added vent covers and the bathroom vent is the highest point now which is 12'4" I set my clearance for 13'
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:03 AM   #19
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Just remember, repairs to the roadway are not reported by the states or feds

instantly. Reports are often delayed for months. In the case of where the old roadway is not removed and paved over the same thing applies with one addition caveat, the clearance will now be less and in some cases the low clearance signs may not have been changed... human error. The GPs may have the best information based on when it was reported, but not necessarily correct or in real time.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:38 AM   #20
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Just remember, repairs to the roadway are not reported by the states or feds

instantly. Reports are often delayed for months. In the case of where the old roadway is not removed and paved over the same thing applies with one addition caveat, the clearance will now be less and in some cases the low clearance signs may not have been changed... human error. The GPs may have the best information based on when it was reported, but not necessarily correct or in real time.
Grayfox you make valid point. That is why I really do not trust the GPS. But in defense I will say this that when they repave a road they require that the road be planed down to the new depth of the overlay. Any highway that is being repaved has those nasty groves in them I'm sure you went over them in your travels. You are talking inches not feet....... Their is an over pass at 12' in Durham NC, and every week a truck rips it's top off or gets stuck under it, that problem is caused by the sign being posted about 20' before. You would think that the NCDOT would understand that.........
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