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Old 02-14-2019, 11:39 AM   #1
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Freedom Express 246rks

Ironically, just when the wife and I were seriously considering moving up in size from our Rockwood 2304ks to the Express246rks, along comes dward51's tale of woo's with his trailers frame.
So I'm wondering, are there any happy Freedom Expess owners out there?, would we be making a serious mistake? I have concerns about the spaced axles and the weight of the kitchen concentrated at the rear of the trailer, and am not happy about having to go back to leaf spring suspension. Opinions?
John
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:43 PM   #2
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Don't let Dward51's thread deter you from any Brand of Forest River....They all sit on poorly built frames supplied by Lippert.

Mine needed $6,000 of warranty work because the original welds didn't hold the suspension to the frame.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clarkbre View Post
Don't let Dward51's thread deter you from any Brand of Forest River....They all sit on poorly built frames supplied by Lippert.

Mine needed $6,000 of warranty work because the original welds didn't hold the suspension to the frame.
That's reassuring
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by flyboy700 View Post
That's reassuring
It's a crappy reality. Very frustrating at best.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:22 PM   #5
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The take away here is that ever brand has the same frames underneath except for a few outliers. Lippert's frames fail. Either because they make the frames for everyone or they make them to a low price/quality point or they make a crappy product or all of the above.

Thing is, you can't get away with them.

The best you can do is regularly inspect your equipment and do preventative maintenance. Some people will proactively beef up the frame.

And finally, there isn't a make/model that you won't find that doesn't have a lemon or two out there. Don't let one story scare you off.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:05 PM   #6
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Compare the TT UVW against the cargo carrying capacity. The greater the cargo capacity, the stouter the frame will be. At least in theory. One of the things that made me want the 2019 Rockwood 2902WS over the 2018 model was that the CCC increased by almost 600 pounds on the newer model even though the dry weight increased by 200 pounds. That's an 800 pound increase in GVWR. I haven't actually done a physical comparison but, by the numbers, FR put a beefier frame in the newer model.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:52 PM   #7
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Let me start by saying I have not posted anything about our frame issues with the intent of scaring anyone away from FR, the FE line or the 246RKS model. I had seen there were a number of trailers (not all FR or FE) with frame cracks in various posts, and I was sharing what we had found and how I'm handling the repairs in the hopes it will help someone else.

Other than the frame repair and the hassle of getting that underbelly off and back (pending and not unique to that model), I have no complaints about the FE 246RKS. And I will also say that both FR and Lippert did not try to put me off at any time, and once I contacted them it was basically getting them photos and scheduling to get the frame repaired. They did the right thing which was a huge plus for me.

My personal belief is the main culprit in the frame is the desire to make a decent sized, livable couples trailer, with the goodies people want, but keep it light weight to market to the 1/2 ton and SUV crowds. Something has to give and thinner steel may be what it was. I don't know if it will matter what brand you buy, if it's in that size and weight bracket you are probably going to look at the same potential problems. I say potential because there are a lot of people with this model who have *NOT* had this problem. And there are people with totally different brands/models that have had similar issues. It's just the nature of a trailer bouncing behind your TV on the road (I read somewhere it was the equivalent of a magnitude 4 earthquake the entire trip).

The wildcard in mine was I'm the 2nd owner. Of course the first owners (a couple in their 70's) said they never took it boondocking, pampered it, etc.. and the rest of the trailer supports that (which was even confirmed by the LCI tech who fixed mine). But did they hit that "one pothole" at the wrong angle? Who knows. I know I didn't do anything other than drive it on the interstate before we noticed the problem. The old rust indicated the problem had been there for a while, but until that axle shifted, it was not outwardly visible unless you crawled under the TT (I had not done so). Rusty weakened steel would be subject to road forces which "might" be stronger from the wide stance axles.

But IMO, if you are aware of the potential of this problem IN ANY TRAILER, just look under there at your frame, hangers and axles from time to time. If you see cracks in the paint, wire brush and repaint to seal (stop rust under the paint). If you see worse, deal with it and get back on the road.

Other than that, enjoy a 246RKS if that is the model you like!!!
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:04 PM   #8
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My opinion... don't buy a spread axles trailer.

If you do buy one, do everything in your power not to do tight turns on pavement.

Beef up the spring hangers. Add crossmembers by either adding the Morryde crossmembers or get some welded on.

I also added a Morryde suspension to mine to soften the ride.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dward51 View Post
Let me start by saying I have not posted anything about our frame issues with the intent of scaring anyone away from FR, the FE line or the 246RKS model. I had seen there were a number of trailers (not all FR or FE) with frame cracks in various posts, and I was sharing what we had found and how I'm handling the repairs in the hopes it will help someone else.

Other than the frame repair and the hassle of getting that underbelly off and back (pending and not unique to that model), I have no complaints about the FE 246RKS. And I will also say that both FR and Lippert did not try to put me off at any time, and once I contacted them it was basically getting them photos and scheduling to get the frame repaired. They did the right thing which was a huge plus for me.

My personal belief is the main culprit in the frame is the desire to make a decent sized, livable couples trailer, with the goodies people want, but keep it light weight to market to the 1/2 ton and SUV crowds. Something has to give and thinner steel may be what it was. I don't know if it will matter what brand you buy, if it's in that size and weight bracket you are probably going to look at the same potential problems. I say potential because there are a lot of people with this model who have *NOT* had this problem. And there are people with totally different brands/models that have had similar issues. It's just the nature of a trailer bouncing behind your TV on the road (I read somewhere it was the equivalent of a magnitude 4 earthquake the entire trip).

The wildcard in mine was I'm the 2nd owner. Of course the first owners (a couple in their 70's) said they never took it boondocking, pampered it, etc.. and the rest of the trailer supports that (which was even confirmed by the LCI tech who fixed mine). But did they hit that "one pothole" at the wrong angle? Who knows. I know I didn't do anything other than drive it on the interstate before we noticed the problem. The old rust indicated the problem had been there for a while, but until that axle shifted, it was not outwardly visible unless you crawled under the TT (I had not done so). Rusty weakened steel would be subject to road forces which "might" be stronger from the wide stance axles.

But IMO, if you are aware of the potential of this problem IN ANY TRAILER, just look under there at your frame, hangers and axles from time to time. If you see cracks in the paint, wire brush and repaint to seal (stop rust under the paint). If you see worse, deal with it and get back on the road.

Other than that, enjoy a 246RKS if that is the model you like!!!
Thanks dward51. Your experience just rIsed concerns that I all ready had because of the extra weight the trailer has at the very rear, and also the axle spread.
Otherwise we are very interested because of the interior layout, overall quality, and the perfect trailer lenght.
Thanks again, and happy trailering, John
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:18 PM   #10
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I love my Freedom Express 246RKS. I'm actually living in mine full time! This trailer has an incredible amount of storage for its size. It doesn't have a lot of wide open floor space, but for me it works great. The dog is getting used to having his tail stepped on The carrying capacity on mine is over 2200lbs so I'm able to load this puppy up with whatever I want and not worry about overloading it. I don't travel with full tanks though.

I've camped in this trailer when it was 105 degrees for about 4 days straight and I was able to keep the trailer at a constant 75 degrees. I think the Azdel helped with that to some extent but I was also able to park so the awning could keep the sun off almost the entire side of the trailer in the afternoon. Camping in the cold is another story. I might try to insulate the underside to make it more comfortable in the winter. I have an older dog that has a leaky bladder so I can't add rugs at this point which I know would help.

I love having a sofa, a dinette, and a dedicated bed. There could be a little more kitchen counter space but I make it work with a wood cover for the stove that I can move over the sink, and I have a smaller wood cover I use in the bathroom to add space to work in the morning. The BBQ that came in it's own little compartment was an added bonus! I've used the heck out of that thing because it is so convenient to store. I probably wouldn't have one if I had to figure out where to store it for travel.

I too had the frame cracks but FR and Lippert took care of everything with minimal inconvenience for me (I wasn't living in it at the time I had the repair done).

I have the spread axles and don't seem to have any issues pulling it, parking it, backing it, or whatever. I don't choose 90 degree back-in spots when I make my reservations either. The slanted spots are no problem for me. Just to park it where I am now, I have to pull up, back around the edge of a building, then change directions to go around my neighbor's big dually, then change directions again to get in the spot. I just go slow and have had no issues with the wheels being tweaked when I'm done. If they were, I would just pull forward and then back straight up to realign them.

I had a leak from day one that the dealer where I bought it couldn't (or in my case, wouldn't) find out where it was. About a month ago, I took it to a different dealer and he found that one of the bolts holding the rear awning bracket wasn't sealed at the factory. Ever since that was sealed, voila, no more leak! (I fired off an email to the service manager at the dealer where I bought it and let him know about the fix since I'd already had it in there 3 times for repair of the leak. They offered to help me install a new cabinet if I decide to do that which I thought was nice.)

I have had this trailer for 4 years and bought it new (leftover 2014 on the lot). I have only done minimal modifications to maximize the storage space for full time living with a few more things to finish up and I'll be done. Like better foam for the cushions, and MCD duo shades for the two windows in the living area.

I think any rv will have problems. If FR and Lippert weren't stepping up and fixing the frame issue at no cost to the owners, you would probably get much different opinions.

Laura

On edit: I forgot to mention that I don't think the rear kitchen weight is a problem with this model. The axles are pretty far back which, I think, helps balance the trailer. The water tank is back there too so I don't fill that when traveling, just about 1/3 tank so I have some water on the road. I have a ton of stuff in my pass through storage, which is huge by the way, so that also helps counteract the weight of the kitchen.
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