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Old 07-05-2011, 08:56 AM   #1
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Bike Rack Suggestions for a Rockwood Fifth Wheel

We have a Rockwood 8286WS fifth wheel and are looking for bike rack suggestions. I welded a 2' square tube between the frame rails below the bumber with a receiver hitch attached to hold a bike rack. I bought a Yakima bike rack that slides into a recevier to hold four bikes by the top cross bar, and on our first trip the bike rack bent down and was almost hitting the ground. The bike rack said not to use on trailers, but I thought I would try. My reinforced bumber / hitch held up great. What is everybody else using?
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:04 AM   #2
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Not that...

Welding or bolting anything to the frame or bumper voids your frame warranty. I added a hitch to the front of the truck.

Downside:
It does decrease mileage by about 1 mpg and increased average trans temps by 5-10 degrees.

Upside:
I can see my bikes. Won't wreck my camper. Won't void my warranty. Won't fall off on the interstate and kill a family of 4 due to my ignorance.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:14 AM   #3
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I don't know where he got it but I seen a 5th wheel with a bike rack mounted to the front. Some how mounted to the hitch. When hitched up the bikes were over the bed of the truck. He had to stand in the truck bed to unload the bikes. I wish I would have taken a photo. It was a nice set up. He also had a hydraulic life ramp on the rear to haul his Harley.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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I investigated the pin box bike mount as well until I saw this:

I thought the additional torque of bouncing bikes would increase the likelihood of a frame failure of this type. Any additional holes in the pin box also voids THAT warranty.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
I investigated the pin box bike mount as well until I saw this:

I thought the additional torque of bouncing bikes would increase the likelihood of a frame failure of this type. Any additional holes in the pin box also voids THAT warranty.


I think those pictures demonstrate bigger problems than just adding a couple of bikes. There's more to that story. I use an after market bumper adaptor with a 2 " receiver for the bike rack, sold at many RV dealers. Towed many kilometres with this and not a problem. If the bikes are secured firmly, reducing all flopping and swaying, you shouldn't have a problem. My bikes weight combined with the rack is well south of 50 kilograms. Drive with due care and caution, checking all systems at every stop will reduce any incidents of failure. As I have stated in the past, I fear more for the driver of the rig than the rig. Some of these guys shouldn't be behind the wheel of a Corolla, let alone a truck with camper in tow.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:41 PM   #6
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My pin box moves around quite a bit just driving down the road. I am NOT overloaded and the pin box itself is a Lippert rated at 15,000 pounds. However the frame is only rated for 9200 pounds.

It flexes mightily just goin down the highway. Scary sometimes. I have already had the plastic trim ring off checking with a flashlight for evidence of cracks.
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:48 PM   #7
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I have seen a lot of campers and fifth wheels going down the road with bikes on the back in hitch style holders with out any problems. Just sayin'. Anybody have any experience with the loop stlye that bolts onto the rear bumber to hold the bikes by the tires?
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Old 07-05-2011, 12:52 PM   #8
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I used that initially, but it twisted my bumper so much it worked the end caps out. It did not take an engineering degree to figure out that I would be looking for my bikes AND bumper on I-95 one day.
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:27 PM   #9
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pschnetts,

First off I would like to welcome you to the forum. Before you get to worried about having welded a hitch to your trailer and ruined your frame and warranty, let me tell you that I have had a receiver hitch welded to the rear of our Rockwood 8281SS for several years. We use it primarily for carrying a generator carrier, but have also used it with a bike rack. So far there have been no problems or issues with it.

There is a prevalent belief that welding anything to the frame will void the warranty of the frame. If you ask anyone without the the knowledge or authority to authorize a modification, you will get the "liability" answer that anything you do will void the warranty. This is understandable, because if they tell you "sure, go ahead" without knowing exactly what you are doing or the engineering behind the project and something goes wrong, most people will hold them (dealer, service dept, etc.) responsible and say "they said I could do it".

The Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act protects consumers from having manufacturers void warranties because of aftermarket products or modifications unless the product or modification specifically caused the problem or failure. An example is that you put aftermarket tires and wheels on your tow vehicle and use a tuner and later one of your power windows stops working. The manufacturer cannot void the warranty for the power window claim. So simply welding on the hitch does not "automatically" void the entire warranty for the frame. Of course if the frame cracks at the welds for the hitch, you are probably out of luck.

The photographs of the frame cracks are from a Lippert frame. You may or may not have a Lippert frame. I don't know which frames are used on which models and production years. Fortunately the frame for our Rockwood is a Dexter frame. If you you google "Lippert frame failures", you will be reading for awhile. If you google "Dexter frame failures", I am happy to say, not so much.

In my case, it took many, many, many telephone calls. We had to establish the capacity of my frame, my actual weights, the anticipated weight of my hitch, carrier and cargo. Next involved a reputable welder with experience in frame repair and modification working in conjunction with the Dexter engineer. Ultimately they did not "just weld" the hitch to the frame. They cut a section out and sort of "dove-tailed" the hitch into the frame and then welded on an "arm" to control the torque forces created by having the platform extend out away from the hitch. I signed an acknowledgment that the hitch is not for towing, it is for weight bearing purposes only and it has a weight rating.

I am not trying to start a debate, just sharing my experience. I do not for a moment doubt there are many which have been told "it will void your warranty". I was told that by many people (dealer, service persons, initial Dexter contact). However, unless it is someone with the knowledge, training and experience about the situation, all you are getting is the "liability answer".



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Old 07-05-2011, 09:59 PM   #10
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Glenn,

I have no doubt that what you say is absolutely true. The caveats you state for taking personal liability for the mod is right on. Most of us "common folk" won't be so thorough in our research or so fastidious in our installation; thus the "Liability answer" is where most of us should stay.

I like your mount though.
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