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Old 08-23-2015, 03:51 PM   #1
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NHTSA Complaints

I just wanted to drop a quick note.... I've experienced a lot of problems with my unit lately. Most of which I believe stem from the 6k axles that were stock on my unit.

In my time on this board I have received some great advice from many of you and was shocked to hear how many of you have experienced the same problems, if not with the frame at least with the axles.

I have been in communication somewhat regularly with an NHTSA investigator as of late and I was surprise to hear that 'officially' there is only one other complaint on file with the NHTSA. They are aware of these forums and knowledgeable about the issues consumers are experiencing, but to my surprise only two of us filed official complaints. The person I've been speaking with has said repeatedly how difficult it is in 'no injury/death' situations to warrant a full investigation without a significant number of official complaints.

All that being said, I would highly encourage everyone I've spoken to and those who remain silently reading along to file a complaint if you've experienced any frame or axle issues with these units. Even if your issue has been resolved, you know how difficult it was and the struggle we've all been through to get these major issues fixed. File with the NHTSA, get your story on the record. The only way we can force accountability and a change in the direction of responsibility is with the help of agencies like the NHTSA.

Rant over.... Having a 2.5yr old, 41', lawn ornament that I still owe a sickening amount of money on has made me a little cranky; especially when its looking like I'm on the hook to fix this myself and either hope for the best or trade it in and lose my shirt on it.... not the customer experience I was hoping for when buying this product.
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:31 PM   #2
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X2 - Being apart of the Automotive manufacturing world. The NHTSA is committed to safety of the American public. Lemon laws exist to protect the buyer, if we as owners report the problems there will be change. The tire blowing out is a perfect example of how change can be made. Thanks to the manufactures (blue oval and red F) we now have the TREAD act which requires manufactures to report all incidents reported to them to the Govt. We need to include the RV industries to this, folks like cfisher523 said report your problems, get NHTSA looking at this, eventually the RV manufactures will be held accountable.

Rant #2
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Old 08-24-2015, 10:09 AM   #3
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Well, I don't know if it will make a difference or not, but I was just contacted by the NHTSA investigator reviewing my report(s) and he has a call 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 them. I'm sure the NHTSA would like to have as many examples as possible when they discuss the situation.
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Old 08-24-2015, 10:30 AM   #4
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I've mentioned this several times hoping that people will report things that are safety related, they will not be black balled or punished in any way and you may just save lives, might be your own.
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Old 08-24-2015, 10:40 AM   #5
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Didn't FR step up and replace your axles? I know you paid some to have them installed, but that's a small price compared to the axles, wheels, and tires. I'm not sure how long you've been trying with FR on this repair, as I just saw these posts last week, but you know issues like this don't happen overnight. Has FR, or Lippert (who would be responsible for frame issues), said they won't cover the repair?
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:44 PM   #6
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Didn't FR step up and replace your axles? I know you paid some to have them installed, but that's a small price compared to the axles, wheels, and tires. I'm not sure how long you've been trying with FR on this repair, as I just saw these posts last week, but you know issues like this don't happen overnight. Has FR, or Lippert (who would be responsible for frame issues), said they won't cover the repair?
I think that's the crux of things for me. I have had a couple of issues where Sabre/FR has stepped up and taken care of me. Since it was resolved- should these things still be reported to the NHTSA?
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:58 PM   #7
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Didn't FR step up and replace your axles? I know you paid some to have them installed, but that's a small price compared to the axles, wheels, and tires. I'm not sure how long you've been trying with FR on this repair, as I just saw these posts last week, but you know issues like this don't happen overnight. Has FR, or Lippert (who would be responsible for frame issues), said they won't cover the repair?
The axles were replaced..... after I mentioned that I reported the issue to the NHTSA. The NHTSA investigator explained to me that recalls and technical bulletins are issued based on claims and reports. The RV industry is on the honor system for reporting warranty claims, which they don't exactly take seriously. So, even if/when the MFG steps up and handles the issue it should still be reported to the NHTSA.

How many people don't inspect their frame? I certainly wouldn't have noticed the issues I'm having had I not been tracking down a hydraulic problem and decided to remove the underbelly cover. How many people think, or should be expected, to remove their underbelly cover to inspect the frame cross-members.

Every experience I have had with FR has taught me that if I don't report issues to governing agencies or go in ready for a fight and negotiation that my issue won't be resolved. As far as Lippert is concerned.... I told them in my initial email that I already filed an NHTSA complaint. I don't believe the issue is due to their MFGing process. FR provided the specs and built guideline. Lippert built it to spec, which unfortunately required 6k axles. I believe the frame issues I'm experiencing are due to the under rated axles. Lippert built what they were asked to build, the customer (FR) did a poor job engineering the design to which Lippert MFG'd the product. To Lippert's credit that have asked for quite a bit of information and they have opened a case to review the situation.

Regardless of resolution status / effort / outcome though these issues need to be reported for the sake of all the 'average' consumers who aren't spot checking their frames on a regular basis or traveling with friends and family to alert them to bent axles. I am appreciative that FR corrected my axle situation, though they have consistently referred to it as an upgrade and not a repair, but the good of all RV consumers we don't do anyone any favors by not reporting major issues that could lead to injury or death.
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:00 PM   #8
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I think that's the crux of things for me. I have had a couple of issues where Sabre/FR has stepped up and taken care of me. Since it was resolved- should these things still be reported to the NHTSA?

See above post .... I think the answer is yes. Should plumbing and electrical issues be reported to agencies like the NHTSA... absolutely not. However, I do think that regardless of resolution all frame, suspension, axle, etc. issues that could directly result in being the cause of an accident should be reported.
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:12 PM   #9
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I think that's the crux of things for me. I have had a couple of issues where Sabre/FR has stepped up and taken care of me. Since it was resolved- should these things still be reported to the NHTSA?
Is your present situation not self inflicted and not FR's fault?
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:29 PM   #10
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Is your present situation not self inflicted and not FR's fault?
I wasn't talking about my present situation.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cfisher523 View Post
The axles were replaced..... after I mentioned that I reported the issue to the NHTSA. The NHTSA investigator explained to me that recalls and technical bulletins are issued based on claims and reports. The RV industry is on the honor system for reporting warranty claims, which they don't exactly take seriously. So, even if/when the MFG steps up and handles the issue it should still be reported to the NHTSA.

How many people don't inspect their frame? I certainly wouldn't have noticed the issues I'm having had I not been tracking down a hydraulic problem and decided to remove the underbelly cover. How many people think, or should be expected, to remove their underbelly cover to inspect the frame cross-members.

Every experience I have had with FR has taught me that if I don't report issues to governing agencies or go in ready for a fight and negotiation that my issue won't be resolved. As far as Lippert is concerned.... I told them in my initial email that I already filed an NHTSA complaint. I don't believe the issue is due to their MFGing process. FR provided the specs and built guideline. Lippert built it to spec, which unfortunately required 6k axles. I believe the frame issues I'm experiencing are due to the under rated axles. Lippert built what they were asked to build, the customer (FR) did a poor job engineering the design to which Lippert MFG'd the product. To Lippert's credit that have asked for quite a bit of information and they have opened a case to review the situation.

Regardless of resolution status / effort / outcome though these issues need to be reported for the sake of all the 'average' consumers who aren't spot checking their frames on a regular basis or traveling with friends and family to alert them to bent axles. I am appreciative that FR corrected my axle situation, though they have consistently referred to it as an upgrade and not a repair, but the good of all RV consumers we don't do anyone any favors by not reporting major issues that could lead to injury or death.
I'm not convinced that the frame issue is due to the axle issue. Lippert had an issue a few years back with cracked frames at the pin box. This was not due to poor design, but rather poor welding and cheap steel. There will be cross loads on the frame, regardless of axle size. Lippert also has their own engineers that design the frames to handle what FR designers give them. Lippert isn't going to intentionally put something on the road that they know could, and would, come back on them as the manufacturer. Lippert has a frame warranty and they are not going to leave that to chance by simply taking another designers word that, "this is a good design". I also think the axle size issue is still debatable. I have 6k axles on mine, they do fine, I'm not overweight, and they will stop me on a dime. I don't have an issue with the axles. I'm sure there are many more out there like myself. That's not to say that having the 7k axles wouldn't be better, it would. I will also make sure to get them on my next one. My point is not to argue the situation of reporting to the NHTSA, but I stand behind the Sierra/Sandpiper line as being one of the best values out there and producing a quality product for the money, and I, personally, would give them the chance to make it right before I bad mouthed them. Please don't take this as me saying you did wrong, this is just my opinion, and another viewpoint for others to read.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:24 PM   #12
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I'm not convinced that the frame issue is due to the axle issue. Lippert had an issue a few years back with cracked frames at the pin box. This was not due to poor design, but rather poor welding and cheap steel. There will be cross loads on the frame, regardless of axle size. Lippert also has their own engineers that design the frames to handle what FR designers give them. Lippert isn't going to intentionally put something on the road that they know could, and would, come back on them as the manufacturer. Lippert has a frame warranty and they are not going to leave that to chance by simply taking another designers word that, "this is a good design". I also think the axle size issue is still debatable. I have 6k axles on mine, they do fine, I'm not overweight, and they will stop me on a dime. I don't have an issue with the axles. I'm sure there are many more out there like myself. That's not to say that having the 7k axles wouldn't be better, it would. I will also make sure to get them on my next one. My point is not to argue the situation of reporting to the NHTSA, but I stand behind the Sierra/Sandpiper line as being one of the best values out there and producing a quality product for the money, and I, personally, would give them the chance to make it right before I bad mouthed them. Please don't take this as me saying you did wrong, this is just my opinion, and another viewpoint for others to read.
Very well said Timmy! I think some folks are a little quick to point fingers some times. My grandpappy always said "when you point a finger, remember you have 3 pointing back at yourself." Not that that is the case here, but something to take into consideration.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:28 PM   #13
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Very well said Timmy! I think some folks are a little quick to point fingers some times. My grandpappy always said "when you point a finger, remember you have 3 pointing back at yourself." Not that that is the case here, but something to take into consideration.
Your grandpappy was probably the FIRST one to say that, knowing how old you are!
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:39 PM   #14
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Your grandpappy was probably the FIRST one to say that, knowing how old you are!
According to our 2 boys, "3 days older than dirt".
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:48 PM   #15
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According to our 2 boys, "3 days older than dirt".
I can understand that!
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:56 PM   #16
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.... I, personally, would give them the chance to make it right before I bad mouthed them. Please don't take this as me saying you did wrong, this is just my opinion, and another viewpoint for others to read.
I don't take this as judgement at all, and by all means each one of us needs to manage these situations in a fashion with which we're most comfortable. I don't believe I've 'bad mouthed' them at all though. My posts are accounts, or based on accounts, of my actual experience. There is very little opinion, except where I note 'in my opinion'. These posts are the facts, as I understand them, associated with my situation(s).

My root point was just that regardless of how well or how poorly a safety issue is handled I wanted to advocate that it be reported to the appropriate regulatory agency.

All this being said.... I did receive calls from FR and Lippert today, but only after the NHTSA Rep with whom I've been speaking contacted them directly. I've posted the details in the thread associated with my current frame issues.

My past experience tells me though that had the NHTSA Rep not contacted FR I'd still be waiting for a call back and would ultimately have to fight for weeks to even get some consideration for a fix.
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Old 08-25-2015, 02:02 PM   #17
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If you don't mind could you send a private message with your contact information. I would like to talk with them about our camper. Thanks Josh
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