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Old 07-05-2019, 07:58 PM   #1
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Spare Tire Rack Failure - Third trip out with new RV.

Greetings friends,

I'm not posting this to rant as much as to make some of you aware of a potential safety issue. I took our new Cherokee 274rfk out this week for its third trip since we purchased it. I stopped for lunch and after lunch did my walk-around as I do at every stop and noticed that the spare tire was sitting at an angle and looked like it was ready to fall off.

The rectangular tubing in the center of the cargo rack is pretty thin and the spare tire bracket is welded to this piece of tubing in two places. The metal in the rack had failed and the upper weld had torn completely loose and the bottom weld was just about ready to let go. I removed the spare, then I moved the bracket up and down twice and the bottom weld also let go and the bracket came completely loose in my hand. I'm just thankful that it somehow held until I made my lunch stop

The tire size is a ST225/75 R15 load range E tire so the tire and wheel are pretty heavy. The tubing to which the spare tire bracket was welded just isn't strong enough to hold the weight of the spare tire as configured at the factory. That heavy wheel and tire would have been a serious safety hazard had it come loose. To a lesser extent, had it not hit anyone, I still would have lost an expensive wheel and brand-new tire. I sent pictures and a write-up to Forest River Customer Service this evening to make them aware of the problem.

I'm not going to try to repair the bracket as I don't trust the cargo tray to hold the spare. I've ordered a BAL 28217 spare tire carrier that mounts to the frame and carries the spare underneath the travel trailer.

I just wanted to pass this along. When doing the inspection of your travel trailer, be sure and check the condition of the bracket holding the spare tire. I had a really close call yesterday!

Bill J., Lexington, KY
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:14 PM   #2
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Funny you mention this because on our 2018 304bh that we just traded, I had looked at that spare tire and luggage rack and made a point to never use the luggage rack in a down position (spare tire hanging underneath) because it just looked like flimsy welds. Never had any issues in the upright positions however. Just poor design.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:38 PM   #3
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Never mind not what I was thinking.


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Old 07-08-2019, 07:29 AM   #4
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Interesting observation, I'll add this to my pre-trip inspection.

We tow extensively with the rack down to carry our pellet grill will us, estimated about 60 pounds or so, with the tire still in place. I have been thinking on removing the tire for 1) clearance reasons, but 2) also agree the rack in general is a little flimsy. We do use the heck out of it, so maybe the right thing to do would be removing it all together and add an actual frame mounted hitch with rack...hopefully that would be a more robust solution.
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidTNMarvin View Post
Interesting observation, I'll add this to my pre-trip inspection.

We tow extensively with the rack down to carry our pellet grill will us, estimated about 60 pounds or so, with the tire still in place. I have been thinking on removing the tire for 1) clearance reasons, but 2) also agree the rack in general is a little flimsy. We do use the heck out of it, so maybe the right thing to do would be removing it all together and add an actual frame mounted hitch with rack...hopefully that would be a more robust solution.
I just finished reinforcing the cargo rack and I also installed a BAL 28217 frame mount spare tire carrier. The BAL is a much better setup and I think that it's going to work great. I ordered mine through my Amazon Prime account because I needed it quickly as we're heading out on Wednesday for another trip with the travel trailer. This is the one I installed:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Bill J., Lexington, KY
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:20 PM   #6
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We toured the Forest River Cherokee plant this morning and In happy to report that the problem has been addressed. Instead of butt welding the rack to the cargo carrier tubing, the improved design is much more secure in that the metal at the base of the tire rack is bent so that a piece of it lies flat against the tubing and is then welded in place. It's a greatly improved design.

Bill J., Lexington KY
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whjco View Post
I just finished reinforcing the cargo rack and I also installed a BAL 28217 frame mount spare tire carrier. The BAL is a much better setup and I think that it's going to work great. I ordered mine through my Amazon Prime account because I needed it quickly as we're heading out on Wednesday for another trip with the travel trailer. This is the one I installed:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Bill J., Lexington, KY

Agree, I like mine as well. You just need to be careful when installing it, and make sure that you're not drilling into any tanks, propane lines, electrical wires, and so on.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:52 PM   #8
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Absolutely! I thoroughly checked both sides of the frame before drilling. It wasn't a difficult installation and the hanger system works great.

Bill J., Lexington, KY
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