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Old 12-27-2009, 01:34 AM   #1
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Thumbs down What You Find Taking Apart a 2008 Cardinal 3100RK

What do you find?

We had an unfortunate incident last week when a pipe bust under the bathroom sink with no one in the trailer. It flooded the bathroom and the bedroom before anyone saw the water seemingly coming from everywhere under the fifthwheel over the hitch. 24 hours with a shop vac, hundreds of towels, blowers, heaters, fans and every imaginable thing the carpet and pad was dry. Really it is but, don't ask everything we did to get it that way.

Then came the real problem. The water that was now trapped between the subfloor and the black moisture seal which of course saturated the fiberglass insulation in between. Suck it out...nope, impossible, dry it...completely impossible. Trade the rig in... almost did that. The only solution was to remove the panel under the overhang, cut open the plastic and rip out all the insulation before the subfloor was damaged.

Thank God for the type of subfloor under there. OSB is very resistant to moisture. If it had been plywood...it would have neen toast in one day. The OSB didn't even soak up any water that I can tell. Once exposed and the insulation removed it was almost dry in less than a day. A day or so more and I'll replace the insulation and staple back the plastic and seal it.

OK, now for the bad. This 5vr has only been on 4 trips since new and has only been exposed to the elements for one year. When we removed the moldings on the edges of the panel under the overhang we found:
1) 75% of the screws rusty.
2) The moldings had about a 1/2" strip of butyl putty down the middle of them and most was too thin to provide any type of seal.
3) When the under panel was removed both edges were delaminated and covered in heavy mold and mildew. The metal frame on both edges was rusty. The caulking on the upper side edges of the molding seemed secure but the lack of any sufficient sealing putty left a path through the screws for moisture to attack the edges of the panel for about 5 inches in from the sides. This had been going on for quite some time and would have eventually destroyed the panel.

Bottom line...Forest River doesn't have adequate quality control, they don't seal the most critical areas of an RV adequately and builds a rig with a programmed obsolecence that will rot, mold and leak from every seam just like the cheaper rigs out there.

God only knows where else this trailer is leaking water into the nooks and crevices that will eventually cause irrepairable damage or health risks from the mold, rot and mildew that will result.

I'm now actually considering this major leak a mixed blessing in that I was able to discover a lurking disaster that would have caused even more damage in the future. You can be assured that when I put it back together it will have the sealing that it should have gotten at the factory and won't ever leak again it the areas I repair.

A word to the wise, if you have the time and the skills you might want to consider removing the panel and take a look under there for hidden problems you don't want to increase to major problems. My wife and I spent about 3 hours getting it off with a razor blade knife, putty knife and cordless drill. I don't think the problems we discovered were an isolated incident and there were no external indications of the problems encountered. I'm even glad I had an excuse to look and prevent definate future problems. I'm certain I will have extend the life of the rig by several years by catching the rust, mold, mildew and moisture problems under that panel and doing the proper sealing that FR failed to do.

Bad job Forest River. Crummy quality control and terrible construction quality. You need to do much better to ever get my business again.

RV's to avoid so far: Fleetwood, and now - Forest River

Larry
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:33 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird Hauler View Post
What do you find?

We had an unfortunate incident last week when a pipe bust under the bathroom sink with no one in the trailer. It flooded the bathroom and the bedroom before anyone saw the water seemingly coming from everywhere under the fifthwheel over the hitch. 24 hours with a shop vac, hundreds of towels, blowers, heaters, fans and every imaginable thing the carpet and pad was dry. Really it is but, don't ask everything we did to get it that way.

Then came the real problem. The water that was now trapped between the subfloor and the black moisture seal which of course saturated the fiberglass insulation in between. Suck it out...nope, impossible, dry it...completely impossible. Trade the rig in... almost did that. The only solution was to remove the panel under the overhang, cut open the plastic and rip out all the insulation before the subfloor was damaged.

Thank God for the type of subfloor under there. OSB is very resistant to moisture. If it had been plywood...it would have neen toast in one day. The OSB didn't even soak up any water that I can tell. Once exposed and the insulation removed it was almost dry in less than a day. A day or so more and I'll replace the insulation and staple back the plastic and seal it.

OK, now for the bad. This 5vr has only been on 4 trips since new and has only been exposed to the elements for one year. When we removed the moldings on the edges of the panel under the overhang we found:
1) 75% of the screws rusty.
2) The moldings had about a 1/2" strip of butyl putty down the middle of them and most was too thin to provide any type of seal.
3) When the under panel was removed both edges were delaminated and covered in heavy mold and mildew. The metal frame on both edges was rusty. The caulking on the upper side edges of the molding seemed secure but the lack of any sufficient sealing putty left a path through the screws for moisture to attack the edges of the panel for about 5 inches in from the sides. This had been going on for quite some time and would have eventually destroyed the panel.

Bottom line...Forest River doesn't have adequate quality control, they don't seal the most critical areas of an RV adequately and builds a rig with a programmed obsolecence that will rot, mold and leak from every seam just like the cheaper rigs out there.

God only knows where else this trailer is leaking water into the nooks and crevices that will eventually cause irrepairable damage or health risks from the mold, rot and mildew that will result.

I'm now actually considering this major leak a mixed blessing in that I was able to discover a lurking disaster that would have caused even more damage in the future. You can be assured that when I put it back together it will have the sealing that it should have gotten at the factory and won't ever leak again it the areas I repair.

A word to the wise, if you have the time and the skills you might want to consider removing the panel and take a look under there for hidden problems you don't want to increase to major problems. My wife and I spent about 3 hours getting it off with a razor blade knife, putty knife and cordless drill. I don't think the problems we discovered were an isolated incident and there were no external indications of the problems encountered. I'm even glad I had an excuse to look and prevent definate future problems. I'm certain I will have extend the life of the rig by several years by catching the rust, mold, mildew and moisture problems under that panel and doing the proper sealing that FR failed to do.

Bad job Forest River. Crummy quality control and terrible construction quality. You need to do much better to ever get my business again.

RV's to avoid so far: Fleetwood, and now - Forest River

Larry

Larry, I am sorry to hear about your problems. There is a lack of quality control in this world and on just about every thing you buy today. Alot of materials are imported as well and they are of poor quality. It dosen't matter how mush you spend on a rig there's all ways problems. I am sure that there is not one member on this Forum that can say that they have the perfect camper and has not had an issue. It comes to this, If you have an RV It helps to be handy with tools and that's all there It is to It. I know we all work hard for our money and spend it on RV's that fall apart but we all are in It together.
A good friend of mine works for Harley Davison Motor cycles, they had a recall on there gauges, she said the problem with them is that the material used came from China and was in poor quality and that they were breaking. It's all about quick out put, low over head and profit. I hope things get better for you, good luck.
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:28 AM   #3
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When will you people stop bashing Chinese products. Guess where all electronics, TV's, now appliances come from these days and they are reliable as can be. I was amazed when I saw date on back of my obsolete Panasonic Gaoo tv as it is 18 yrs old and still works like new.
Face the facts. Can't blame Chinese for crappy design, engineering and workmanship.
I can only say again Face the facts and realities of the real problems
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dezolen View Post
When will you people stop bashing Chinese products. Guess where all electronics, TV's, now appliances come from these days and they are reliable as can be. I was amazed when I saw date on back of my obsolete Panasonic Gaoo tv as it is 18 yrs old and still works like new.
Face the facts. Can't blame Chinese for crappy design, engineering and workmanship.
I can only say again Face the facts and realities of the real problems
What we can all agree about, at least with the RV's, is that China makes some really crappy tires.....

Like it or not, we all experience it at some point.
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:51 AM   #5
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A member over on the FMCA forum group posted pics of the front overhang on his Fleetwood Jamboree Class C motorhome that had completely rotted due to a bad seal on the front window. He completely took apart the overhang and rebuilt it. Did a beautiful job. We have had Winnebagos in the past, same thing, water intrusion. Truth is, no one in the RV industry does everything right. I have seen the same complaints about even the most expensive diesel pusher rigs from their owners.

As Rockwood06 said, if you have an RV you had better be good with tools. But beyond that if you are going to spend your hard earned money (and lots of it in some cases) on an RV then you had better at least pony up the extra money for at least a cover if you can't somehow store it under cover or in a garage.

Really sorry to hear of your problems but I have seen much worse and at least you caught it early. Hopefully you can clean things up, put in some stainless hardware and seal it up so that it won't be a concern in the future.

Good luck and take care.
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Old 12-27-2009, 02:18 PM   #6
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It was Japanese crap.. then Chinese crap... The reality is that if things were built to last for 20 years, we couldn't afford them.

You gonna pay $200K for a 5th wheel that comes with a 20 year gaurantee?

Forest River is my brand because they provide an excellent balance between quality, features and price. The key word is balance... They could throw out half the options, lower the price by 30% and I wouldn't be interested..

Buy a brand with the right balance for YOU.. Buy an extended service plan / good insurance and when life kicks your RV in the *****, go buy another RV.

You bought the RV for the lifestyle... Enjoy it!

P.S. - We can all be happy that a terrorist won't be in the seat next to us while we travel in luxury across this great country! Stupid Airport security...
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