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Old 08-15-2015, 08:01 PM   #1
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365SAQ Frame Support Bent and Broken - Potentially Related to 6k Axles

Ok... so earlier this year I started this thread:
365SAQ Axles..... Again

Feel free to read the thread, but in summary I had a 6k axle bend on a trailer with a dry delivery weight of 12750 before the dealer added 2nd AC and awning toppers, and before any water; leaving about 610# cargo. Many phone calls and a deal was agreed to leading me to a shiny new set of 7k axles and all the accessories.

Fast forward to today..... I pulled my underbelly down to troubleshoot a hydraulic issue and found a cross member / support (the one over the axles) bent and broken; not a busted weld, actual snapped round bar. I'm posting pictures so you can see what I saw. Three pics of the bad and one pic of a good one for reference. I believe this 'damage' is from the extra stress the 6k axles put on the frame and demonstrates just how much twist and force transfers to the frame at the axles when the wrong ones are installed.

If you've had axle issues corrected check your frame. If you're having axle issues and looking for extra leverage to aide FR in doing the right thing and fixing your rig, check your frame and snap some pics.

Now I'm off to find someone with the tools and skills to correct this and maybe use some heavier materials in the process. Happy trails all....
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2013 Forest River Sierra 365SAQ, 7000# Axle Swap, 5th Airborne Air Ride
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Old 08-20-2015, 08:20 PM   #2
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I found some of the underbelly coming down on our 2012 Silverback 35QB4 today so I pulled it down some more just in front of the axle. I too found the cross member broken badly. So I pulled the panel behind the axle and that cross member was also broken the same as yours. I as well will be looking for repairs that are stronger than these weak factory welds. Not impressed at all lipert should not be allowed to put anything on the road. The pictures don't show it but the lower cross bar front and rear are broken away from the frame on both sides just floating in there.
I do believe this is caused by turning stress and from over the road stress. Our camper has had side wall repairs at the factory that included frame camber adjustments by lipert. I will be sending them pictures.
Good luck with yours Josh
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Old 08-21-2015, 03:49 PM   #3
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Well things went from bad to worse.... after reading Josh's post above I decided to pull the rest of the underbelly down to take a look and the frame support just behind the axles... well that support made the one in front of the axles (my original post) look like they were just cherry.....

The attached pictures show the rear cross member bent, twisted, broken, and just plain failed. I sent the pics to Forest River and to the NHTSA. I don't even know what to do at this point. Two of the primary cross members, the ones closest to the axles, have failed. I can get someone to cut them out and weld them back in, but since they aren't engineers is that really the right thing to do?? I really believe that all this is due to the undersized axles originally installed on the trailer.
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2013 Forest River Sierra 365SAQ, 7000# Axle Swap, 5th Airborne Air Ride
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Old 08-22-2015, 09:07 PM   #4
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That is like ours is both of the lower cross members near the axles broken at the welds. You could pull them out nothing is left attached to them. I have been searching and this is pretty common, I even found a PDF from lippert on making the repair.
This is very poor workmanship starting with the engineer right to the welder that didn't use enough heat to penetrant the steel. This kind of thing would never happen in the auto industry the government would be all over it. The rv business better clean up there act before they have government oversight because then no one will be able to afford to buy one of these things.
Well I plan to make sure Cedar Creek and Lippert know about this but expect they won't care and then fix it myself. I wish you luck cfisher523
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Old 08-22-2015, 09:12 PM   #5
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Here is the Lippert document I found. I think this should work.

.http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs...1V486-1111.pdf
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Old 08-22-2015, 09:41 PM   #6
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You did the right thing reporting this to the NHTSA, they have the power to act on this sad excuse as a safe product, we see lots of people complaining but they are reluctant to complain to the proper authority good luck with getting it all fixed up, hope they do the right thing and fix it properly.
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Old 08-23-2015, 02:33 PM   #7
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I'm not holding my breath waiting for FR or Lippert to fix it. It was quite a fight to get my axles replaced, I'm betting this is next to impossible. I've decided I'm at a crossroads. Either pull out everything thats broken and weld in new support using heavier materials, or just tack everything back in and trade in the unit on something other than a FR product. I love this trailer, have since I bought it, but I just don't trust it. I also worry that if I weld in heavier support materials that the stress causing the damage will just be pushed somewhere else and I'll start experience a new problem. I just don't see any good options.
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2013 Forest River Sierra 365SAQ, 7000# Axle Swap, 5th Airborne Air Ride
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:23 AM   #8
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I wish you luck if you decide to try another brand. I have been searching and Lippert builds the frames for anything that fits my needs. If you no of one that doesn't have a Lippert frame please let me know. It appears to me they own 90% of the market.
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Old 08-24-2015, 10:07 AM   #9
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I don't know if it will make a difference or not, but I was just contacted by the NHTSA investigator reviewing my report and he has a meeting scheduled later this week with FR to discuss. If anyone else has experienced this or similar issues, now would be a great time to report.
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2013 Forest River Sierra 365SAQ, 7000# Axle Swap, 5th Airborne Air Ride
2010 Chevy 2500HD D/A, CC, Timbrens, Curt Q16 Slider

Nights Camped in 2015 -- 40
Nights Camped in 2016 -- 26
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:02 PM   #10
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So, I did receive a call from the FR Government Safety Compliance Manager today. He received a call from the NHTSA investigator with whom I've been speaking. We spoke for about a half an hour and he assured me that FR would be working with Lippert to determine the correct path of resolution. I did find it quite concerning that despite the fact that I had notified the FR Customer Service Rep about the problem, the FR Safety Compliance Rep told me that the first he heard of the situation was when the NHTSA called him; so there is a breakdown in FR with the Customer Service folks communicating with the Safety Compliance folks. I've sent over two dozen pictures, at Lippert's request, of my frame and Lippert seems to be on top of determining how they're going to repair the damage. FR asked me to give them a couple days to work out the logistics of a fix.

I don't know if I would have received help without the NHTSA's involvement, but I know it didn't hurt and now my issue is on record for reference in the event anyone else experiences similar problems.

Updates to follow......
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2013 Forest River Sierra 365SAQ, 7000# Axle Swap, 5th Airborne Air Ride
2010 Chevy 2500HD D/A, CC, Timbrens, Curt Q16 Slider

Nights Camped in 2015 -- 40
Nights Camped in 2016 -- 26
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