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Old 07-04-2013, 11:20 AM   #1
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Structural integrity

I am wondering what makes the rockwood ultra lite series (specifically the fifth wheel 8280) lite? What is it that is different structurally and is the structural integrity compromised in any way?
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:12 PM   #2
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The walls are thin, so a lot of weight saved there.
The floor is a laminated sandwich of very thin plywood on both sides of the aluminum/Styrofoam core. But all of the lightweights are using this system now. There is no real plywood in the floor.
As far as I know, there are no rafters in the ceiling, just another laminated sandwich, but with no framing like the floor.
The axles are the bare minimum for the camper weight, but again seems to be standard procedure.
The main frame is made up of three pieces of sheet metal welded together, and not a real I-beam like on older trailers. It is very light, and probably not very strong.

But does all this compromise the structural integrity? I haven't seen any evidence of it on ours, yet. But it sure does creak and groan when we drop it on the truck, as the weight is being transferred. I wonder if some day something is going to give out in that fifth wheel area. It is flexing, no doubt about that.

But if you want a lightweight, they are very nice campers. And overall, we are happy with ours.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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I don't notice any flex or strain when we hook up our 2013 model. It is one of the quietest trailers I've heard traveling down the road. Seems well engineered in construction. Massive axles result in poorly controlled parasitic motion. Shock absorbers and control arms are not common on trailers. The salon floor could be a little stiffer underfoot. You do have to compromise a bit to shed all that weight. While not as solid as a house, it does the job pretty well.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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I don't notice any flex or strain when we hook up our 2013 model.
Just wait, you will. Ours was quiet as well when new.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:47 PM   #5
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Oh I. I'm sure it will loosen up over time. All things do except for our bones and joints. Why is that? (seems cruel)
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:00 PM   #6
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But it sure does creak and groan when we drop it on the truck, as the weight is being transferred.

Mine creeks and groans too as you are transfering the weight too and from the truck.

Unfortunately I think all of these trailers are made cheap/light to save weight and money. But I think they are a good unit overall.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:04 AM   #7
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Mine creeks and groans too as you are transfering the weight too and from the truck.

Unfortunately I think all of these trailers are made cheap/light to save weight and money. But I think they are a good unit overall.
You have predicted correctly, my trailer has developed a lot of creaks. I wonder if something structural has happened, like a broken weld or two. I don't know how you can go from little or no noise to what I now hear without some change in the frame. I'm contacting customer service regarding this one.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:00 PM   #8
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It's like anything else. You get what you pay for. A person can't buy a Chevrolet and expect all the good qualities of a Cadillac.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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It's like anything else. You get what you pay for. A person can't buy a Chevrolet and expect all the good qualities of a Cadillac.
But when I buy something no matter what it is it should be usable for the purpose that it is bought for, and, Cadillacs are not fault free either.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:33 PM   #10
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Additionally the framing is all welded aluminum. It's so light many people at camp sites have asked if my F150 really tows it without problems. They expect to see an F250. Then I wow them saying that the F150 is a 6 cylinder.......EcoBoost that is.
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